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Syria Direct: News Update 2-18-15

‘Severe escalation’ in Homs rebel district Regime forces attacked the […]

18 February 2015

‘Severe escalation’ in Homs rebel district

Regime forces attacked the last rebel-controlled district in Homs Tuesday in a “severe escalation” of hostilities amidst ongoing negotiations for a truce, reported the pro-opposition Homs Media Center.

Explosive cylinders, tank shells and snipers’ bullets hit various locations across Al-Waer as shabiha and Hezbollah forces unsuccessfully attempted to enter the western district, Mohammed al-Homsi, member of the Homs Media Center, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

The attack comes as negotiations are “still ongoing” between the regime on one side, and rebels and residents of Al-Waer on the other, over a final truce expected to be signed on Thursday stipulating a full ceasefire, reported pro-opposition Step Agency.

Mohammed al-Homsi confirmed that negotiations were ongoing, but said “there will not be any truce signed on Thursday.” Negotiations are scheduled to conclude at the beginning of March, he added.

Homs-Destruction Regime forces pound rebel-controlled Al-Waer in Homs. Photo courtesy of@Dr_mz13 @LensHomsi

Kurds set to face off against Islamic State in A-Raqqa

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured the Aleppo-Hasakah international highway and seven villages north of A-Raqqa city from IS on Tuesday after a battle that left at least 10 IS fighters and one YPG soldier dead, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Just this Monday the YPG took Al-Ja’ada, a village 9km outside of Tel Abyad, according to el-Dorar.

The latest victory puts Kurdish fighters only 75 km north of the IS de-facto capital of A-Raqqa city. 

Kurdish forces backed by Syrian rebels on Sunday crossed the border into A-Raqqa province, fully under the control of the Islamic State, and captured a hill ahead of their gains on Tuesday.

In related news, Kurdish fighters have advanced between 30 and 40 kilometers to the east, west, and south of Kobani to reclaim over 2,000 square kilometers of Aleppo’s northeastern countryside from IS, notes the same report by the SOHR. 

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