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Syria Direct: News Update 11-13-14

Unidentified warplanes strike Nusra HQ in Idlib Unidentified warplanes struck […]

13 November 2014

Unidentified warplanes strike Nusra HQ in Idlib

Unidentified warplanes struck the Jabhat a-Nusra-controlled town of Harem in northwest Idlib province Thursday, resulting in at least two casualties, reported the Greater Harem Local Coordination Committee.

The Organizers of the Syrian Revolution, a union that includes various LCC’s, reported that the US-led coalition was behind the bombing, a claim that could not be independently verified.

The coalition bombed Harem the night of November 5, following the Nusra-led ouster of the US-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front from southern Idlib province, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

US Central Command said that the November 5 bombings targeted “terrorists” with the Khorasan Group, who were planning to conduct attacks against Western interests. “These strikes were not in response to the Nusra Front’s clashes with the Syrian moderate opposition, and they did not target the Nusra Front as a whole,” the USCC said in a November 6 press release.

Military airports spur fighting

The Syrian army reportedly retook a series of checkpoints along a supply route between two military airports in Outer Damascus on Wednesday, said pro-regime news source National Defense Forces on Facebook, while a journalist told Syria Direct Thursday that the rebels maintain their presence in the area.

“The rebels launched attacks on regime forces on the road that cut the road off entirely,” Hadi Munjd, a correspondent for pro-opposition news agency Orient News, told Syria Direct Thursday.

“The regime does not control those areas, but there were battles [along the road] and now no one controls the checkpoints.”

The rebels have been present along the supply route between the two airports since April 2014, attempting to disrupt the supply roads and pressure the military airports.

Kurds make progress in Kobani – SOHR

Kurdish forces are making progress on the southern front of Kobani Wednesday and Thursday amidst ongoing fighting with the Islamic State (IS), reported the SOHR.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces cut off a key Islamic State (IS) supply route southeast of Kobani Wednesday morning, which IS had used to funnel supplies from A-Raqqa province towards the Kobani front, Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said in an interview with France 24.

Also on Wednesday, the US-led international coalition launched seven airstrikes on IS positions in and around Kobani, without any available information on casualties, reported pro-opposition Smart News agency.

Kobani123 kurdish forces hanging out after cutting off IS supply line. Photo courtesy of @salar_dd.

Syrians hoping to flee face few options

Syrians hoping to flee the war for neighboring countries have few prospects as they are tightening their border amidst refugee overflows, said the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council in a joint report released on Thursday.

In October 2014, the UNHCR registered only 18,453 refugees from Syria, an 88 percent drop from the 2013 monthly averages, despite high levels of ongoing violence in 10 of the 14 provinces, according to the report.

“After three and half years of absorbing more refugees per capita than any other country in the world, countries like Lebanon and Jordan can no longer cope with the increased burden. They need our help,” said President of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband in a press release.

Jordan has placed tighter restrictions on its border, while Lebanon has closed it almost entirely.

“Lebanon will not receive refugees after today and this is will be announced as a policy adopted by the Lebanese government,” Lebanon’s Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Darbas said in late October.

Turkey has accepted 190,000 refugees in the past several months from Kobani, but 170,000 others remain trapped on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.

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