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Syria Direct: News Update 12-18-14

Nusra accelerates Idlib offensive Following up on their rapid success […]

18 December 2014

Nusra accelerates Idlib offensive

Following up on their rapid success capturing Wadi a-Deif, Jabhat a-Nusra attacked the regime military base of al-Mastumah in Idlib Wednesday, resulting in the flight of dozens of soldiers and killing an unspecified number, reported pro-opposition SmartNews.

“Assad’s forces withdrew from the two camps of Ariha and al-Mastumah towards Latakia in particular, afraid of a repeat of the Wadi a-Deif scenario,” Abdullah Jadaan, Syria Mubasher correspondent, told Syria Direct Thursday.

He added that Nusra fighters saw more than 40 armed vehicles fleeing the camp.

As of publishing, Nusra fighters have not stormed the camp, but are paving the way for an assault by striking the site with Grad missiles.

In related news, a regime officer in al-Mastumah detonated a hand grenade he was holding under unclear circumstances, possibly by accident, igniting surrounding ammunition caches and killing a number of fellow officers and soldiers, reported pro-opposition Siraj press.

Mainstream regime news outlets have not commented on the al-Mastumah battle.

Al-Mastumah is a gathering and launching point for regime forces headed to nearby checkpoints, and sits on the supply route from Latakia to Idlib.

SOHR: 11,000 regime dead over 5 months

Approximately 11,000 regime soldiers have been killed in battle over the past five months, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Wednesday.

A total of 5,600 dead were soldiers and officers in the Syrian army, 4,500 were from the National Defense Forces (shabiha) and other pro-regime militias, and 730 were foreign fighters of various nationalities in addition to 90 fighters from Hezbollah.

The precision of these numbers could not be independently verified.

The rising death toll among regime ranks is reflected by a recent series of protests among Syria’s pro-regime, and particularly Alawite, community.

Earlier this month, pro-regime residents of the village of Basnada in Latakia province engaged in a firefight with security forces during a funeral for a Basnada soldier. Protestors raised signs demanding an end to mandatory conscription and the pushing of young men into open fronts, reported pro-opposition news channel Al-Aan TV. 

Mass grave contains 230 more Shaitat tribesmen killed by IS

Residents of Syria’s eastern Deir e-Zor province on Wednesday uncovered a mass grave containing the bodies of more than 230 members of the Shaitat tribe, bringing the total number of Shaitat tribesmen executed by the Islamic State to 900 since August, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with an estimated 1,800 still missing.

The figures could not be independently verified.

UNSCR extends resolution on cross-border aid

The United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to renew authorization for UN agencies and implementing partners for a period of one year to deliver cross-border humanitarian aid into Syria, even without the Syrian government’s permission.

The agreement extends UNSC resolution 2165, which in July authorized aid convoys to enter Syria through the Bab a-Salama and Bab al-Hawa crossings along the Turkish border and the Ramtha and al-Yarubiya crossings on the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, respectively.

The UN and its partners have struggled to reach more 12 million Syrians in need of relief aid, with both the Syrian government and the Islamic State imposing restrictions on aid convoys.

The UNSC expressed that it is “gravely concerned” with the ineffective implementation of past resolutions on humanitarian access and called on all parties to facilitate humanitarian access.

TelbiesehAidTelbisa residents receive humanitarian aid. Photo courtesy of Telbieseh Mobasher Network. 

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