* The Qalamoun Media Center said Tuesday rebel fighters had clashed with government troops in nearby Nabek one day after Hezbollah’s Al Manar channel reported the Syrian army had gained full control of the town. Nabek is key to capturing Qalamoun, the mountainous range along the Lebanese border with a highway between Homs and Damascus that stretches to the government’s stronghold in the port city of Latakia. Government sources are now reportedly in control of the highway, which has been closed for 20 days, and will allow the United Nations’ team responsible for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal to transport materials to Latakia to be destroyed at sea.
*At least three fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham were killed in fighting with Kurdish militias as they attempted to maintain their week-long blockade on the majority-Kurdish towns in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday. ISIS has confiscated food and infant formula as it blockades the Kurdish towns of Kobani and Afrin, reported Akhbar Alan.
ISIS announced in a flier last week it would confiscate any goods entering or exiting the town of Afrin, which it says is under the control of the Turkish Kurdish group PKK.
* After the detection of an additional 17 cases of polio in Syria this week, the World Health Organization and UNICEF called Monday for all combatants to ease barriers to humanitarian access. “The major vaccination campaign underway now in the Middle East to fortify more than 23 million children against polio aims to reach 2.2 million children inside Syria, including those living in disputed areas and those who were not covered in the previous campaign,” UNICEF said in a statement. “Reaching a number of children inside Syria remains difficult, particularly those who live in contested areas”
* Government troops are reported to have fired upon prisoners from a block of the Aleppo Central Prison, killing seven and injuring many others, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday. Rebel fighters from the Islamic Front, Jabhat a-Nusra and Fajr a-Sham have been assaulting the adjacent regime base at the former Kendia hospital since Wednesday.
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