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Regime, Nusra converge on Ismaili city as IS moves in

GROUND ZERO: A Nusra suicide bomber says farewell to his […]

1 September 2014


GROUND ZERO: A Nusra suicide bomber says farewell to his comrade before carrying out a successful car bombing in a small town west of Selimiya, on the eastern outskirts of Homs province on Sunday night

Selimiya–an Ismaili-majority, regime-controlled city–is located on the highway from Homs to A-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital. While IS hasn’t directly attacked Selimiya, there have been reports of skirmishes between IS and the government on the city’s outskirts.

Selmiya has also served as the main route connecting Hama to Homs since the rebels cut off the M5 highway, which previously was the primary supply line between the two provincial capitals.

By bombing the city, Nusra hopes to cut off regime reinforcements between Homs and Hama, where the rebels have waged aggressive campaigns in both provinces over the past two weeks.

Pro-regime activists tried to turn the attack into a tale of heroism.

“Adnan Zidane [a local townsman] saw the armored car on its way to his village,” reported Tartous News Network, a pro-regime news outlet, Sunday, “when he opened fire on the car, leading to its explosion by his house, sacrificing himself in protection of the village.”

Meanwhile, state media SANA reported that the car bomb killed two people and wounded 10 others.

“A suicide bomber was able to infiltrate the village,” a police commander told SANA, “and blew up in the middle of town where there were 15 houses, killing two people and wounding 10 others, including a child.”

Both the regime and opposition forces are wary of the potential importance that Selimiya may play for IS in the near future.

Since consolidating its control over A-Raqqa province last week when it captured Tabqa airport, the last remaining regime outpost in the province, IS’s opponents fear that it may make a concerted push towards either Homs or Hama by means of Selimiya.

-September 1, 2014

Photo courtesy of @Homs_Jn.

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