3 min read  | Aleppo, Damascus, Politics

Syria Direct: News Update 11-18-14


November 18, 2014

Regime barrel bombs Al-Bab, again

Regime helicopters dropped two barrel bombs on the Islamic State-controlled city of Al-Bab in Aleppo province Monday night, killing 20 and injuring 65 civilians and IS combatants, reported pro-opposition Smart News agency.

One bomb struck the entrance to the city and a second hit the “al-Malik” restaurant in the city center, reported the Al-Bab LCC, while confirming Smart News’s casualty count.

A citizen journalist originally from al-Bab told Syria Direct Tuesday that the bomb that struck the restaurant caused “a large fire that led to explosions, because next to the restaurant there are vendors who sell diesel, gas and kerosene,” relaying information from family members in Al-Bab.

Al-Bab witnessed a regime warplane strike on September 11 that killed 14 civilians and a similar barrel-bomb attack on a bakery September 18 that left 55 civilians dead, the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union reported on October 1.

Al-Bab11City of Al-Bab after barrel bomb attack. Photo courtesy of Al-Bab LCC.

 

Kurdish forces progress in Kobani

Kurdish forces defending the embattled city of Kobani in northern Aleppo province reportedly captured six buildings from the Islamic State in an east neighborhood on Tuesday, killing 13 IS fighters and seizing their weapons in the process, said the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“During the last few days we have made big progress in the east and southeast,” Idris Nassan, an official in Kobani told Lebanon’s The Daily Star on Tuesday.

Idris said that ISIS now controls less than 20 percent of the city, as opposed to 40 percent a month ago.

The news comes in the wake of another operation on Monday in which Kurdish YPG forces killed five Islamic State fighters 60 kilometers south of the city in a surprise attack, reported pro-regime news agency Al-Hadath News.

Another truce fails in Damascus

Attempts at a truce in the rebel-controlled town of Beit Sahem in southern Damascus appear to have failed, reported government-affiliated General Organization of Radio and TV, with the regime citing the “influence of Jabhat a-Nusra and [the Islamic State]” in the area.

Reports of Nusra and IS in Beit Sahem could not be independently verified.

Several rebel-controlled neighborhoods and towns around Damascus have recently been negotiating ceasefires with the government with mixed results.

Beit Sahem has been under rebel control for over two years now and under siege for most of that time. Its location on the road to the Damascus International Airport has made it a hotspot for rebel activity.

Meanwhile, regime forces reportedly bombed Beit Sahem on Monday injuring dozens, said pro-opposition activist Facebook page Coordination for the Syrian Revolution for the Neighborhood Al-Asali, while local activists say rebels destroyed a tunnel the regime was digging into Beit Sahem.

UNRWA: 60% of Palestinian Syrians displaced

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said on Monday that 60 percent of Palestinian refugees in Syria have either been displaced internally or “become refugees a second time over” in neighboring countries since the conflict began.

Krähenbühl, who spoke at the UNRWA Advisory Commission Meeting in Jordan Monday, said that between 16,000 and 18,000 Palestinians are “still trapped, living in hunger, cold and constant fear” in the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus, besieged by regime forces for more then a year and a half.

UNRWA has experienced increasing difficulty bringing supplies into the camp since the summer, he said.

On the topic of education, Krähenbühl said that more than two-thirds of UNRWA’s schools in Syria have become “unusable,” either damaged by fighting or “in areas to difficult to reach.”

“Schools engulfed in the fighting is another dramatic example of the disregard for the sanctity of civilian life shown by parties to this conflict and it must be condemned.”

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