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Syria Direct: News Update 11-25-14

Regime pressures rebels controlling water source The regime intensified its […]

25 November 2014

Regime pressures rebels controlling water source

The regime intensified its efforts to storm a rebel-held town home to a water spring serving five million people in the Damascus area Tuesday, as rebels renewed threats to blow up the water source in retaliation, reported pro-opposition news agency All4Syria.

Tuesday’s ground fire on Ein al-Fijeh, a suburb west of Damascus, marked the fifth consecutive day of regime attacks on the area.

The regime dropped two barrel bombs in the area on Monday in addition to shelling it with surface-to-surface rockets and heavy artillery, said pro-opposition news Wadi Barada Media Center.

Reports say that the rebels have turned off the water for several hours at a time, but cannot afford to turn it off longer than that because the same supply that goes to the regime-controlled capital extends to the suburbs.

Residents have been stuck inside their houses throughout the fighting.

WadiBaradaThe regime bombs Ein al-Fijeh on Monday. Photo courtesy of Wadi Barada.

YPD steps in to help regime in Zahra and Nubul

Regime helicopters dropped military aid Monday onto Kurdish YPD units just outside the Shiite encircled towns of Zahra and Nubul as rebels continued to pound them with artillery, reported pro-opposition Syria Mubasher news.

On Monday, YPD fighters reportedly helped guide the helicopters to their targets and move aid into the towns. They have also sent in reinforcements and supplies from nearby locations to aid the regime forces defending Zahra and Nubul, reported pan-Arab daily alHayat.

The two towns are among the regime’s last footholds in the Sunni-majority northern Aleppo countryside, but have been encircled by rebels for two years. 

Conflicting information circulated Monday regarding the progress of the battle for Zahra and Nubul after rebels captured the southern entrance to Zahra on Sunday.

Opposition brigades had previously signed non-aggression pact with Kurdish forces in the Aleppo countryside. In case Kurdish fighters broke the agreement, the brigades would wage a war against them, according to unnamed activists quoted by al-Hayat.

For its part, the local pro-regime Facebook page Nubul and Zahra News Network reported that regime fighters destroyed a rebel tank and 23mm artillery piece Monday.

Hezbollah, regime forces turn on each other in Qalamoun

Assad regime forces and Hezbollah fighters in the Qalamoun mountains skirmished with each other Monday as a result of strained tensions between Syrian and Lebanese fighters who up until this point have been allies, reported the Lebanese news agency Radio Sawt Beirut.

The fighting began after a shabiha [pro-regime militia] leader was captured by unknown assailants in the regime-controlled city of Yabrud, located in western Qalamoun, close to the border with Lebanon.

The relationship between the two groups has reportedly been strained by the losses Hezbollah has sustained in the fight against Jabhat a-Nusra and other local rebel groups in Qalamoun, says pro-opposition news agency El-Dorar, who reported the fighting. 

“The Syrian regime does not consider the liberation of the Qalamoun mountains a priority,” a source close to Hezbollah told El-Dorar.

Hezbollah fighters have been a crucial ally for Syrian forces across the country, offering both military expertise and numbers to an army depleted by years of war and defection.

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