* Tens of thousands are starving in besieged neighborhoods of southern Damascus, the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center in Syria reported on Thursday in an expose on the town of Hajar Aswad. Their report comes after videos surfaced last week of civilians eating leaves in a neighboring besieged Damascus suburb, Moadimiyet a-Sham.
* The Free Syrian Army announced it has taken control of more than 25 buildings in the area of Old Cornice, east of Darayya in Outer Damascus, reports Zaman al-Wasl Thursday. Hezbollah television station Al-Manar also reports Thursday that Syrian regime forces have captured the Outer Damascus villages of al-Husainiyeh and al-Diyabiyeh.
* A fire erupted Wednesday at the Homs Oil Refinery after being targeted by the FSA, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The refinery is one of two working in all of Syria, both at a minimum capacity.
Smoke rises as the Homs Oil Refinery burns on Wednesday.
* The youngest son of the party leader of PYD, the largest Syrian Kurdish party, was killed Wednesday by sniper fire in the midst of ongoing clashes between the insurgent extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham and the PYD in Syria’s lawless north. Shurfan Saleh Muslem was killed in the north central city of Tel Abiyad, near the Turkish border, according to the Saudi newspaper Jisr.
* Armed opposition group Ahrar al-Sham, powerful in Aleppo province, denied rumors that they had signed an agreement with extremist groups ISIS and Jabhat a-Nusra in a statement published Wednesday. The rumored agreement included a ceasefire between the jihadist groups.
Like Syria Direct on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.