Syria Direct: News Update 10-1-14


October 1, 2014

Rebels south of Damascus

The Syrian army launched an attack on a rebel-held town outside a military complex in south Damascus on Wednesday, hoping to stymie a push towards Damascus, reported the pro-opposition Deir al-Adas Coordination Committee.

Opposition forces, led by FSA-affiliated fighters and Islamic brigades, took control of Deir al-Adas two weeks ago.

“The rebels are using the hill near Deir al-Adas as a launching point in the direction of Damascus,” Abu Aws, a spokesperson for the pro-opposition news agency Syria Mubasher, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

“The regime is trying to capture Deir al-Adas to cut off the rebel offensive.”

“Line after line of Assad’s soldiers are trying to storm Deir al-Adas,” the Local Coordination Committee said in a statement Wednesday.

Meanwhile, official state news agency SANA said that the Syrian army had “targeted a number of terrorist points” and destroyed weapons caches in the area on Tuesday.

Kobani up for grabs

US-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State (IS) positions on the outskirts of the Kurdish-majority town of Kobani in northern Aleppo province Wednesday in an attempt to check IS’s stubborn advance towards the town, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

IS fighters were 3km from Kobani as of Tuesday, Adnan Hussein, a Kurdish journalist based on the Turkish side of the Syrian border, told Syria Direct.

The coalition also bombed a salt mine in oil-rich Deir e-Zor province Tuesday, considered one of IS’s main headquarters in the region, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, resulting in an unknown number of casualties.

In related news, 20 civilians—including 5 women and 5 children—were killed in September by coalition airstrikes, reported the Syrian Network of Human Rights Wednesday, a monitoring group that relies on videos, photos, and eyewitness testimony to document casualties.

This, while the regime killed 1,707 civilians—27 percent of them women and children—and the armed opposition killed 56 civilians over the same period.

Ain-al-ArabDespite coalition airstrikes, IS is a few kilometers from Kobani. Photo courtesy of @r4biaplatform

Fighting for intelligence building in Harasta

Rebels launched a surprise attack on the regime-controlled district of Harasta in the Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta Tuesday night, capturing two military bases before surrounding the air force intelligence building, still under siege as of publishing, reported pro-opposition All4Syria.

The Harasta air force intelligence building is reportedly a detention and torture center for rebels and civilians in East Ghouta. It supplies regime forces on nearby fronts with weapons, soldiers, ammunition, and intelligence, Amar al-Hassan, a media activist present near Harasta, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

The air force intelligence building also falls adjacent to the Qaboun Industrial Park, a regime-held area that is part of Damascus proper. 

“Army units clashed with terrorists at the Thanawiya circle in Harasta…and killed and injured a number of them, in addition to destroying some of their military equipment,” a field reporter with official Syrian News Agency SANA was quoted as saying by pro-regime Syria News Network, while avoiding mention of the besieged air force intelligence building.

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