Rebels intercept snacks and toiletries in airdrop meant for besieged soldiers


October 24, 2013

LET THEM EAT CAKE: An aid parachute missed its target and fell in the rebel-controlled area surrounding Division 17 in the northern province of A-Raqqa on Wednesday.

The rebels open the boxes attached to the parachute, holding up various items for the camera that include cigarettes, olive oil, zaatar, painkillers, cheese, date-filled cookies and chocolate cake. They laugh while unwrapping each item, and when they find a bottle of 7 Up soda, one rebel jokingly orders the other to shout praise to Allah.

The parachute also contained ammunition and two boxes of mortar shells.

Division 17 lies two kilometers north of a-Raqqa city. It is the regime’s largest remaining base in the north of Syria, and has been encircled for several months by the Islamist militias, including Jabhat a-Nusra. Various reports of defections of soldiers and officers leaving the Division have emerged, but nonetheless, the remaining forces inside have not surrendered and continue to survive solely on airdrops such as this one.

“The battalions couldn’t take control of Division 17 until now,” Zaid al-Fares, a citizen journalist in A-Raqqa, told Syria Direct on Thursday.

“Fighting battalions have taken control of more than 80% of Division 17, with just two buildings left,” al-Fares said. The opposition has said for several months that rebels control 75%-85% of the site, with a full victory coming any day.

Division 17 has been blockaded for the past eight months. Al-Fares claimed that FSA battalions no longer have a presence in A-Raqqa, the only of Syria’s 14 province that is controlled by rebels. Video Courtesy of Iman Battalions.

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