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Syria Direct: News Update 12-17-14

Regime renews airstrikes against Deir e-Zor The regime escalated its […]

17 December 2014

Regime renews airstrikes against Deir e-Zor

The regime escalated its aerial campaign against the Islamic State in Deir e-Zor province on Wednesday and Tuesday, bombing IS positions near the embattled Deir e-Zor military airport and several IS-controlled towns, including a civilian hospital, reported the pro-opposition media campaign Deir e-Zor Under Fire.

“The regime targeted the hospital directly, including the civilians and medical staff stationed [working] there, under the pretext of targeting an [IS] base,” Abu Baraa Sharqi, a media activist who works with Deir e-Zor Under Fire, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

The attack on the hospital, located in the IS-controlled city of Mayadin in east Deir e-Zor, killed 12 civilians, according the media campaign.

The news contradicts a report from the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that five IS leaders were killed in the hospital attacks.

The regime also launched an airstrike near the a-Siyasiya bridge in Deir e-Zor city and rockets around the Deir e-Zor airport, which IS has been trying to capture for the past two weeks, on Wednesday.  

IS controls nearly all of the oil-rich province that borders Iraq, except for the military airport and areas immediately surrounding it.   

Feylaq a-Sham renews attacks in Hama

Rebel forces led by Feylaq a-Sham withdrew from a strategic Hama village on Wednesday after temporarily capturing it Tuesday night, killing 20 regime soldiers and capturing four others in the process, reported pro-opposition news agency El-Dorar.

“Rebels took control of Tel Meleh and then withdrew because of increased fire and explosions from the regime,” Mustafa Abu Arab, a citizen journalist who works with the pro-opposition news Hama Media Center, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

The attack comes in the wake of an influx of regime soldiers in Hama province escaping from the Wadi Deif and Hamadiya military bases, which fell to Jabhat a-Nusra and Ahrar a-Sham on Monday.

The news also comes amidst rumors of Islamic State activity in Hama province, with one former Feylaq a-Sham brigade declaring allegiance to IS over the weekend.

Tel Meleh, located in northwest Hama province, is considered strategic because it sits on the supply road between a regime base and number of military checkpoints.

FSA pushes IS to edges of Bir al-Qasb

FSA fighters including Jaish al-Islam pushed the Islamic State (IS) to the southern outskirts of Bir al-Qasb Tuesday, Jaish al-Islam spokesman Captain Abdul Rahman told Syria Direct Wednesday.

Abdul Rahman denied reports circulating among opposition media sources [see al-Aan’s here] that rebels had taken total control of the area.

IS-affiliated news outlets published photos November 9 confirming the Islamic State’s capture of parts of Bir al-Qasab, which is administratively part of Outer Damascus province.

The FSA responded by sending forces to the area to oust IS.

Bir al-Qasb is considered the gateway into Daraa province, wrote Al-Monitor’s Abdullah Suleiman Ali December 10, adding that “it is no longer a secret that IS intends to enter Daraa.”

Al-Waer sees ‘most violent day’ in over a year

The regime pounded Al-Waer with 15 airstrikes and volleys of mortars Tuesday in what the pro-opposition Homs Media Center called “the most violent day” the rebel-held holdout district has witnessed in more than a year.

Nineteen people died as a result of the attack as of late Tuesday night, including women and children, while “the rest of the martyrs are being extracted from the rubble and have not been identified yet,” reported the Homs Media Center.

“Heavy caliber mortars are falling on civilians houses,” the Homs LCC reported Tuesday.

Syrian news media did not comment on the attack itself.

Official state news SANA reported Tuesday that “districts in Homs city are living a normal life except for Al-Waer in the city’s west, where terrorist organizations are encircling more than 300,000 civilians…and using them as human shields.”

Tuesday’s assault follows a regime delegation’s visit to the district early this month to discuss a truce proposal.

HomsWaer23 Regime bombs al-Waer on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Abu Mazen Al-Homsi.

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