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Syria Direct: News Update 11-24-14

Kurdish forces gain ground in Kobani Syrian Kurdish forces in […]

24 November 2014

Kurdish forces gain ground in Kobani

Syrian Kurdish forces in the embattled town of Kobani reportedly progressed against IS fighters Tuesday, capturing a number of buildings north of the city and advancing in the southern and eastern battlefronts, said the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Kurdish fighters also managed to recapture the area around the Cultural Center in the center of the city, a focal point for both sides thus far in the battle.

“Kurdish and IS forces fought in the south and east neighborhoods of the city late [Monday] night,” said a correspondent for the Kurdish news agency Rudaw.

The Kurdish advances were supported by at least five airstrikes from the US-led coalition targeting IS positions east of the city, said SOHR.

Kobani222Kurdish forces progress in Kobani on Monday. Photo courtesy of Kobani Direct.

Nusra poised to capture Shiite villages in Aleppo

Rebels including Jabhat a-Nusra captured the southern entrance to the Shia-majority town of Zahra northwest of Aleppo city on Sunday, one of the regime’s last footholds in the Sunni-majority northern Aleppo countryside.

Jabhat a-Nusra published photos of the captured territory, known as the factories area, on Facebook Sunday.

Zahra, along with the neighboring town of Nubul, are two Shiite towns surrounded by Sunnis and have been encircled by opposition forces for more than two years. The regime still controls the towns.

Both Zahra and Nubul witnessed the large-scale flight of residents towards the Shiite-majority city of Afrin during the fighting, reported pro-opposition Halab Today.

As of publishing, clashes are ongoing between rebel and regime forces on the southern and eastern fronts of a-Zahra, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The regime dropped barrel bombs on rebel positions on the outskirts of Zahra and Nubul, reported the civil-society group Syrian Revolution Coordinators on Monday.

IS fighters shoot down regime warplane over Deir e-Zor

The Islamic State managed to shoot down a regime warplane over the IS-controlled city of Deir e-Zor Monday, the first since taking control of the province from the regime and other rebel forces in July, reported the pro-opposition Sham News Network.

While regime forces have mostly been driven from the eponymous oil-rich province, they are still present in small pockets south of the provincial capital and have engaged in skirmishes with IS fighters over the last several weeks.

The warplane was hit after it shelled a number of points in the city, said the pro-opposition news source Deir e-Zor Under Fire. The pilot parachuted out of the plane over a hill south of the city, as the plane crashed near Brigade 137, a former regime military base.

The regime has increased the number of its aerial operations, including airstrikes against areas outside of its control, since the US-led coalition began its military campaign in Syria in late September.

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