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Rebels, regime seek to break Daraa deadlock

February 3, 2015 By Brent Eng and Mohammad al-Haj Ali […]

3 February 2015

February 3, 2015

By Brent Eng and Mohammad al-Haj Ali

AMMAN: The regime intensified its bombing of opposition-controlled areas in Daraa province on Tuesday, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties as it attempts to stem rebel advancement on the southern front.

“There was bombing in all parts of the province, but it the heaviest took place on the town of Jasim,” a correspondent for the pro-opposition Sham News Network in Daraa told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

“Every day the regime targets a new area,” said Abu Huda, the correspondent.

The barrage of aerial strikes comes in wake of the rebels’ seizure last week of the regime military base Liwa 82 and the nearby city of Sheikh Miskeen, located on the highway that begins in Jordan and runs through Damascus.

Tuesday’s airstrikes on Jasim, northwest of the Liwa 82 base, are a renewal of similar attacks on the town Monday that killed at least 15 people and injured 25 others, reported the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Regime strikes pounded rebel positions in Daraa Tuesday after a string of military setbacks in the southern province. Photo courtesy of @Saeed_Syria11.

By taking Liwa 82 and Sheikh Miskeen, rebels hope to cut off the main supply road between Damascus and Daraa, and advance on the country’s capital from the south.

Busra al-Harir, one of the regime’s targets, is situated east of Liwa 82, close to the regime supply road, while another, Seda, is located on the eastern outskirts of Daraa city.

Opposition fighters are advancing slowly but steadily in Daraa province, said Rami Abduurahman, the director of SOHR, in a statement on the monitoring group’s website.  

“As usual, the regime bombs the populated areas in order to make the supporters of the fighters pay for the coup,” said Abdulrahman.  

The rebels’ capture of Liwa 82 and Sheikh Miskeen after over two months of fighting with the regime marks a notable victory for the rebels in a province otherwise characterized by deadlock over the past two years.

Meanwhile, the US government has said that it will continue to supply weapons to rebels in Daraa, after reportedly having cut off its support to opposition groups in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

At least 81 civilians were killed in Daraa province last week, one of the highest civilian casualty counts in Syria for that period, reported the human rights watch group Violations Documentation Center in Syria in its latest weekly update. 

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