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Syria Direct: News Update 11-03-2013

* Government forces pressed an advance Sunday into key rebel-held positions in and […]

3 November 2013


* Government forces pressed an advance Sunday into key rebel-held positions in and around Damascus. Sham News Network reports Free Syrian Army battalions repelled another attempted advance into besieged, starving Moadimiyet e-Sham after Syrian air force jets provided cover for shabiha militias and Hezbollah fighters Saturday attacking the capital’s southern suburbs.


State-run SANA reports 15 “terrorists” killed in a Syrian Air force strike in East Ghouta, while pro-Assad forces struck in a wide swath of pro-rebel Damascus neighborhoods, including the suburbs of Deir al-Asafir and Yabroud and the Barzeh and Jobar districts.


* 21 media activists were killed in October in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday, between them one activist under 18 and two journalists allegedly tortured to death in government prisons.


* Government forces are preparing to advance toward Kewres Airbase and into the eastern Aleppo suburbs Sunday, reports Lebanese television channel Al Manar, a day after regime forces seized al-Safira after a month-long battle. A pro-rebel spokesperson confirmed to Syria Direct that regime forces had entered the town on Aleppo’s strategic alternate desert road to Homs on Saturday.


*Government shelling resumed on Sunni villages in the town of Jebel Akrad in Latakia province over the weekend, reported the Local Coordination Councils of Syria. SANA reported the regime strikes targeted members of the extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham.  


* Syria’s pro-government media has yet to report on Israel’s air strike on a Latakia arms depot Thursday. “The regime which claimed to be a force of ‘resistance’ has repeatedly gone silent or issues empty, hollow threats after attacks on Syrian land,” the opposition Syrian National Coalition said in a statement issued Saturday.

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