WHEN CARS FLY: Syrian air force barrel bombs left destruction in their wake Wednesday in Yabroud, 75 kilometers northwest of Damascus, and the largest remaining rebel-held town in the Qalamoun mountain range.
Amidst quiet overhead, the videographer peers into a meters-deep hole, pointing out destroyed sewage pipes, before panning up to show a small car lodged into the third-story of a nearby building.
“Violent clashes and battles” are ongoing on the outskirts of Yabroud, the pro-opposition Yabroud Local Coordination Committee reported Thursday, as government troops pounded the area with artillery fire.
Meanwhile, the pro-government newspaper al-Watan said Wednesday the Syrian army had “implemented a complete blockade of the town,” citing a military source who said regime troops have destroyed “terrorist dens” in Yabroud.
Despite nearly three weeks of heavy shelling and violent clashes, the Syrian government and its Hezbollah reinforcements have yet to advance into Yabroud.
A total of “150 members of the regime forces, including five generals” have been killed in the ongoing clashes, the pro-opposition Qalamoun Media Center said Tuesday. On Monday, opposition forces gained complete control of the town of a-Sahel and the farms of Rima, adjacent to the city.
In November and December of last year, Syrian government troops supported by Hezbollah fighters captured a string of towns along the regime-controlled national highway between Damascus and Homs near Syria’s western border with Lebanon.
Yabroud is the largest city in the Qalamoun region and is now home to a number of FSA, Islamic Front, and Jubhat a-Nusra brigades.