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Syria Direct: News Update 10-27-14

Regime pulls ahead in Hama The Assad regime struck a […]

27 October 2014

Regime pulls ahead in Hama

The Assad regime struck a rebel-controlled town in northern Hama province with several barrel bombs Monday, stepping up its attack on the area after capturing the strategic town of Mourek from the rebels over the weekend, reported pro-opposition news agency FNN Syria.

Both Mourek and Kafr Zeita, which was hit with barrel bombs, sit on the supply road between the eponymous provincial capital and Idlib province.

“Dozens of terrorists were injured and killed and their vehicles destroyed near Kafr Zeita,” said official media agency SANA Monday.

The regime has escalated its barrel bombing campaign in Hama and across Syria over the past week, killing and injuring more than 500 citizens in aerial attacks in the last seven days, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Monday.

Nusra launches surprise assault on Idlib

Jabhat a-Nusra and several other rebel battalions mounted an assault on the regime-controlled city of Idlib Monday morning from three axes, storming the governor’s building near the city’s western entrance before withdrawing with 12 captured regime soldiers and two tanks, reported pro-opposition Idlib News Network (ENN).

Rebels captured al-Mustuma hill—located eight km north of Idlib and overlooking several regime-controlled parts of the city—and entered Idlib from the north, media activist Anis Qaddur told Syria Direct Monday from Idlib province.

As of publishing, rebels are still located in several northern neighborhoods within the city, and the regime has imposed a security cordon around the area, Qaddur said. 

A number of regime soldiers lost their lives “repulsing the violent assault,” reported pro-regime Idlib News Network (INN).

Kurds, IS deadlocked in Kobani

Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters repulsed an Islamic State attempt to storm the northern district of Kobani on Monday, while the southeast front witnessed heavy fighting without notable gains for either the Kurds or IS, reported official Syrian news agency SANA.

On Sunday, Islamic State fighters detonated a car bomb near the al-Haj Rashad mosque in north-central Kobani, while launching 17 mortar rounds at Kurdish positions in the city, resulting in a unknown number of casualties, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Also on Sunday, Kurdish fighters foiled an IS attempt to take control of the northern al-Jamarik neighborhood—considered the gateway to the Syrian-Turkish border crossing of Murshid Binar—the fourth such attempt since the battle for Kobani began.

In related news, 815 people have died in the battle for Kobani since September 15, including fighters from the Islamic State, YPG, and civilians, according to a report released Sunday by the SOHR.

KobaniFemaleFighter2 Kurdish forces check IS advance in Kobani. Photo courtesy of Kobani Now.

Nusra raids military checkpoints along Lebanese border

Rebels led by Jabhat a-Nusra captured a military checkpoint near the regime-controlled town of Halbon in the Qalamoun mountains northwest of Damascus Monday, seizing caches of ammunition to resupply their weaponry, reported pro-opposition news source All4Syria.

While a-Nusra has a strong presence in Qalamoun, they do not control over a defined area and rely on raids on supply depots to rearm themselves.

In capturing the military checkpoint, the rebels fought off Hezbollah fighters that have reinforced regime forces along the Lebanese border, reported pro-opposition source Al-Mokhtsar.  

A-Nusra has been in Qalamoun for almost a year, occasionally crossing into Lebanese territory. While a-Nusra once controlled a number of towns along the mountain range, Hezbollah reinforcements sent to Syria earlier this year drove the rebels away from urban areas and into the mountains.

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