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Syria Direct: News Update: 12-09-2013

* The Joint Leadership of the Free Syrian Army released […]

9 December 2013

NewsUpdateDec2013* The Joint Leadership of the Free Syrian Army released an intelligence finding Monday that Lebanese Christian militia leader Michel Aoun agreed to send troops into Syria to “create a shield of protection around a number of churches and monasteries” after a meeting with Hezbollah representatives on November 7th. The Joint Leadership finding reported that “Hezbollah is one of the parties that will provide technical and logistical military support,” to the pro-Assad Christian militia inside Syrian territory.

* The Jordanian Interior Ministry announced Sunday that the number of Syrian refugees in the northern province of Mafraq has surpassed the local population. “The number of refugees in Mafraq province, located in the Kingdom’s northeast and adjacent to the Syrian border, has reached 400,000 refugees, 129% of the total population, which is 310,000,” the Ministry said in a statement, citing internal statistics.

* Syrian government troops have gained control of the Damascus–Homs highway in Qalamoun, Lebanese Hezbollah channel Al-Manar reported Sunday. The highway has been contested in recent weeks as the Syrian army has advanced into the rebel-held Qalamoun region north of Damascus abutting the highway, which connects the regime in Damascus with its Alawite oil-refining cities on Syria’s northwestern coast. With the road cleared, the United Nations Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons team inside Syria can transport chemical weapons materials gathered near Damascus to the Syrian coast, to be destroyed at sea.

A Syrian revolutionary flag hangs in a circle in central Nabek. Photo courtesy of Syria Oxygen.

* The battle for Nabek in Qalamoun continued Sunday as government troops, who recently gained control of northern Nabek, bombed the al-Sharqi neighborhood in eastern Nabek and clashed with rebel groups in the al-Jisr, Rima, al-Saqi and industrial neighborhoods of the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.  The clashes pit government troops, supported by National Defense Forces and Hezbollah, against rebels from Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham. Government forces have raided homes in western Nabek, the Observatory added.

* The pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center reported Sunday 2,540 Syrians died in November 2013, a number which includes 1,572 civilians but does not include regime fatalities. Aleppo witnessed the largest number of casualties, with 424 civilian and 236 combatant deaths.

* The Syrian air force mistakenly targeted its own troops at the Kwires airbase in Aleppo Monday, resulting in a number of casualties, reported Halab Today.


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