* “Outer Damascus woke up to the news of an attack against the Violation Documentations Center in Syria, and the arrest of the activist Razan Zaitouna and her three-person team,” the Douma Public Council posted on its Facebook page. The Syrian government had arrested Zaitouna, a prominent civil rights attorney, multiple times. Islamist extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham are believed to be behind the abductions.
* After tightening control over Nabek, in the Qalamoun region, the Syrian army moved south toward the last rebel stronghold of Yabroud Wednesday, reported Hezbollah channel Al Manar. In its three-week offensive on Qalamoun, the Syrian army, Hezbollah fighters and Iraqi militias have steadily moved south along the Damascus-Homs highway, seizing the towns of Qara, Deir Attiyeh and now Nabek.
A storm bringing rain and heavy snow across the region blanketed the makeshift homes of refugees in Arsal, Lebanon. Photo courtesy of Twitter user @carolmalouf.
* The Islamic Front once again seized control of the Bab al-Howa border crossing from the Free Syrian Army on Syria’s northern border with Turkey Tuesday, reported pro-government website Syria News Tuesday. In response, Turkey closed its border. A spokesman at the American embassy in Ankara Wednesday announced the U.S. would no longer provide “non-lethal assistance” to northern Syria after the Islamic Front briefly seized the FSA’s warehouses at Bab al-Howa last Friday. The FSA had controlled Bab al-Howa for more than eighteen months.
* Two Russian airplanes landed in the government-controlled city of Latakia carrying 45 tons of humanitarian aid, Syrian state television said Tuesday. “This is the 8th time Russia has provided aid,” a Russian official said in an interview.
* A total of 85% of Syria’s crops have been affected by the war, the Syrian Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade, Khader Orfali, said Tuesday. The unrest has prevented the Syrian government from accessing and transporting its wheat reserves, forcing authorities to import wheat, he added.
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