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* Regime forces continue to shell the southern Damascus suburb […]

23 October 2013

* Regime forces continue to shell the southern Damascus suburb of Meliha, while clashes continue on the ground between regime forces and rebels near largely rebel-controlled Meliha and regime-controlled Jeramana, the pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported Wednesday. The Syrian Air Force is also targeting the recently captured Tamico checkpoint between the two towns, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Meliha lies on a critical artery separating the rebel-held blockaded villages of East and West Ghouta from the regime-held Damascus International Airport.

* “Let’s solve the major issue first: disagreements between Sunnis are more dangerous and have a deeper effect on Syria than other sectarian disagreements,” exiled pro-revolution Alawite scriptwriter Foad Hamiera wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday.

* The FSA announced Tuesday they had seized control of Abu Rashid checkpoint between the contested towns of Da’el and Tafas in rural Daraa province, inflicting casualties and material losses on the regime army, pro-opposition website Syria Live reported. Da’el sits on the strategic national highway between the Jordanian border and Damascus.

* The Syrian government released 13 female prisoners Tuesday in a wide- ranging prisoner exchange negotiated between Palestinian and Qatari officials between the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian regime and Lebanese forces, reported Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat, based out of London. On Saturday, two Turkish pilots kidnapped in Lebanon were released, while the Free Syrian Army released nine Lebanese citizens they had held since May 2012 in the northern Syrian village of Azaz. Responding to FSA criticism that not enough female prisoners had been released, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Atiyeh told Al-Hayat on Tuesday: “Qatar guaranteed the rebels that it has a guarantee from the Lebanese [to release more women]. Locating and gathering the detained women takes time, but it will be done in the next few days.”


Female prisoners released by the Assad regime Tuesday face away from the camera to protect their identities. Photo courtesy of Sana al Thowra.


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