US, regime bomb Deir e-Zor amidst civil discontent
The US-led coalition and the Syrian regime targeted separate Islamic State positions in the largely IS-controlled province of Deir e-Zor on Thursday as civil unrest rocks the region, reported the pro-opposition media campaign Deirezzor Under Fire.
Over the past two weeks, a series of assassination attempts by unknown assailants has targeted IS fighters in the city of Mayadeen.
“The reasons for the assassinations against IS may be because of their practices and behavior towards the city and its residents, their seizing of citizens’ homes under the charges of apostasy and treason, and the [frequent] beheadings,” a media activist in Mayadeen, who goes by the alias Hisham Mayadeeni, told Syria Direct Wednesday.
Meanwhile, coalition warplanes struck near Al-Bokamel, which sits on the border with Iraq, at least three times on Thursday–a target the coalition has repeatedly bombed due to its importance in producing and transporting oil for IS.
At the same time, the regime bombed an IS town in west Deir e-Zor with heavy artillery, where it has reportedly been forcing IS to retreat from its attacks on the Deir e-Zor Military Airport over the last week, the monitoring Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.
Residents watch execution in Deir e-Zor. Photo courtesy of @mar7ab10.
Nusra launches failed attack on SRF in Idlib
Jabhat a-Nusra unsuccessfully attempted to arrest a leader of the Syrian Revolutionaries’ Front (SRF) on Wednesday who had recently returned to Idlib province amidst reports that the SRF is making its way back into Jabal a-Zawiya.
“A-Nusra went to arrest one of [SRF’s] leaders there [in the village of Farkiya in Jabal a-Zawiya], except that his family opened fire on them and prevented them from arresting him, forcing Nusra to return empty handed,” Mustafa Qintar, the alias of a citizen journalist in Jabal a-Zawiya, told Syria Direct Thursday.
The pro-opposition al-Akhbar reported that “a group” of SRF fighters returned to Farkiya, prompting Nusra’s unsuccessful attempt to storm the village.
Also on Wednesday, an explosion rocked the Nusra stronghold of Hafasarji, west of Idlib city, killing many, reported al-Akhbar. The cause of the explosion remains unknown.
Nusra withdrew from the village in the aftermath of the bombing and re-deployed in locations close to Hafasarji, a source with pro-opposition Syria Correspondent in northern Idlib who wished to remain anonymous told Syria Direct Thursday.
“It was probably an air raid, because Nusra’s quick withdrawal without any clashes [with another party] probably came as a result of Nusra’s fear of a second air raid,” he added.
Opposition leaders pass on Moscow conference
Syrian opposition leaders refusing to attend a conference in Moscow later this month will lose their influence in the negotiations for the country’s future, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, as Bashar Assad continued to stress Russia’s importance in combating “terrorism,” reported Syrian state-news SANA.
“If the [opposition] parties refuse to participate in the conference about the Syrian crisis, then I believe they will lose [out],” said Lavrov.
Many opposition leaders have already declined to attend the planned conference in Moscow, while others remain undecided.
Meanwhile, Assad expressed doubt about the importance of opposition leaders in an interview with the Czech newspaper Literarni Noviny published Thursday.
“We are talking about various people – some of them national figures and some of them with no power who do not represent an important part of the Syrian people, some of them puppets in the hands of Saudi Arabia or Qatar or France or America – and therefore this will not work for Syria.”
For more from Syria Direct, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.