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Syria Direct: News Update 11-24-2013

* The Mount Qalamoun towns of Nabek, Dair Attiyeh and […]

24 November 2013

* The Mount Qalamoun towns of Nabek, Dair Attiyeh and Dmair sustained sixteen air strikes Sunday as the Syrian air force pounded the area near the Lebanese border for the fourth consecutive day.  The pro-opposition Qalamoun Local Coordination Committee reported ten were killed in the airstrikes. Last week, the Syrian army seized control of the town of Qara, while opposition fighters, led by Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham, gained in Deir Attiyeh, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian National Coalition reported.

* The Syrian Parliament approved a new budget for the Ministry of Interior, including a project to replace citizens’ identity cards at a cost of 28 million Euro (37.9 million USD$), reported the independent website All4Syria. The project, which could endanger political activists by forcing them to report to the Ministry of the Interior, comes as Assad’s government prepares Presidential elections in the regions if still controls.

* Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haider survived a second assassination attempt in as many months Saturday after sniper fire killed his driver on the road between Qadmous and Damascus. The official news agency SANA reported Haider was traveling in Tartous Province, between the town of Msiaf and Qadmous.

* The Syrian air force struck the Aleppo neighborhood of Karam al-Bik Saturday, resulting in more than fifteen casualties, reported pro-opposition Aleppo Media Center. A correspondent confirmed the air force used helicopters to drop explosive barrels, destroying three apartment buildings.


Destruction following regime airstrikes on the Aleppo neighborhood of Karam al-Bik Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Aleppo Media Center.

* A coalition of established  armed groups united under the “Islamic Front,” banner Friday, including Jaish al-Islam, Liwa al-Tawhid, Suqour al-Sham, the Islamic Ahrar al-Sham Movement, the Islamic Kurdish Front .  Jaish al-Islam, formed in late September, is powerful in the Damascus suburbs, while Liwa al-Tawhid’s forces are concentrated in Aleppo.  ISIS and Nusra have been excluded from this grouping, which also opposes the SNC’s steps towards participation in the Geneva II transition process.

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