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Syria Direct: News update 12-18-2013

 * Jabhat a-Nusra clashed with government troops near the Deir […]

18 December 2013


 * Jabhat a-Nusra clashed with government troops near the Deir e-Zor military airport Tuesday, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. As Jabhat a-Nusra attacked the airport, government troops launched shelling into the al-Jafa neighborhood, adjacent to the airport. The eastern province of Deir e-Zor and its capital are largely rebel-controlled, with regime troops maintaining a few strategic outposts.

* Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham arrested eight activists and journalists Tuesday from the Post Office building in the Andarat neighborhood of Hanano, in Idlib province. Amidst other accusations, ISIS charged their detainees with “secularism and dealing with the American CIA,” reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

* The University of Damascus ratified a decision Wednesday to begin teaching Kurdish and Armenian at the university, as it prepares to create a College of Arts and Humanities. Syria is home to as many as three million Kurds, who have been barred from teaching the language in public schools.

Damas univ


* The Russian and Iranian governments should pressure Syria to “stop the killing, open humanitarian corridors and send medical supplies to the citizens before sending a convoy of ships to aid in the evacuation of chemical weapons from Syrian territory,” the opposition Syrian National Coalition spokesperson Luay Safi said Wednesday. 

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