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Syria Direct: News Update 10-14-14

IS terrorizing Kobani US-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State (IS) […]

14 October 2014

IS terrorizing Kobani

US-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State (IS) positions in Kobani located in northern Aleppo province five times Tuesday morning, with two strikes directed at the New Cultural Center—a compound near Kobani’s central Freedom Square—that IS captured on Monday, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Islamic State has moved into Kobani from the east, south and southwest and is holding sections of the border city despite the airstrikes.

IS carried out three suicide attacks Monday on Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) positions in Kobani in an attempt to breach YPG lines of defense, reported the opposition satellite channel Al-Aan News.

Aside from suicide bombings, IS appears to have resorted to other unconventional tactics, decapitating captured Kurdish civilians and soldiers in Kobani and publicly displaying their heads in order to lower the morale of YPG fighters, eyewitnesses who escaped from Kobani told Al-Arabiya on Tuesday.

As of publishing, battles between the YPG and IS are ongoing on several fronts in Kobani.

Regime fires Homs security chief

The Syrian government sacked the head of the military security branch in Homs Monday in response to local protests against the government following a lethal car bomb attack in front of an elementary school in a pro-regime Homs neighborhood two weeks ago, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Protestors consisting largely of the families of those killed in the attack, staged a sit-in in the Alawite-majority neighborhood of Akrama, where the school attack took place. They demanded the resignation of the Homs governor, said pro-opposition news agency Aksalser.

The double bombings took place as students were leaving the school and killed 45 people, including 41 children, according to Al Jazeera. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

State media has not commented on the firing, but official agency SANA said that children in Akrama “defied terrorism and returned to [school]” on Sunday. 

Latakia fuel crisis affects standard of living

The Alawite-majority city of Latakia has witnessed a sharp rise in transportation costs over the past two months due to a lack of diesel, reported pro-opposition Syria News Desk Monday.

The price of a liter of diesel in Latakia has risen to 190 lira [$1.17], up from 15 lira [$.09 ] at the start of the revolution, due to fears that diesel will become increasingly rare during the coming winter, a Latakia-based activist told Syria News Desk.

Syria’s Minister of Electricity said Sunday in a parliamentary meeting that the electricity sector is facing a major crisis due to a lack of fuel for generation stations. A total of 32  out of 54 stations nationwide have been taken off-line since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, reported pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan.

Most of Syria’s oil fields, located in eastern and northeastern Syria, are currently under the control of the Islamic State.

Lebanese army abused refugees, says SNHR

The Lebanese army has committed a number of human rights violations, including execution, arbitrary arrest and torture against Syrian refugees in Arsal, according a report released Monday by the pro-opposition monitoring group Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The army “carried out an operation of arrests” against the refugees in the border town in September, the report concluded, detaining 450 Syrians, many of them children, without due process.

The report also accused the army of torturing the detainees, including some until they died.

Incursions against Syrian refugees, now one-fourth of Lebanon’s population, escalated in August after Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic State crossed the Lebanese border and attacked Arsal in August.

Syria refugees in ArsalSyrians take refuge in a mosque near Arsal. Photo courtesy of @Rassd_News.

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