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Syria Direct: News Update 2-25-15

Shiite militias kill rebels in Sayeda Zainab retaliation Shiite militias […]

25 February 2015

Shiite militias kill rebels in Sayeda Zainab retaliation

Shiite militias killed a number of rebel fighters with missile fire in southern Damascus on Tuesday in what appears to be retaliation for Monday’s car bomb near a sacred Shiite shrine, a pro-opposition activist told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“The [military] operation may be in response to the explosion two days earlier in the neighborhood of Sayeda Zainab,” said Walid Agha, the pseudonym of a Damascus-based media activist.

Jabhat a-Nusra has claimed responsibility for the car bomb near the shrine, where Shiites believe the Prophet Mohammed’s granddaughter is buried.

Seven rebels were killed in the towns of Babila and Beit Sahem in the missile attacks, said the pro-opposition grassroots news page Revolution’s Spring.

Pro-regime news outlet Dimashq Now reported that the attack killed members of Jabhat a-Nusra in Beit Sahem, where the jihadist organization is known to have a presence.

Babila, Beit Sahem and Yelda are adjacent pro-opposition towns in southern Damascus that agreed to truces with the regime a year ago. “The Shiite militias have not recognized the agreements from the beginning,” said Agha.

Regime executes five PLA officers outside Damascus

The Syrian regime executed five Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) officers in the town of Qatna, 14km southwest of Damascus, for refusing to send reinforcements for the Syrian army’s ongoing campaign in Daraa, reported the Palestinian Refugee Camps News Agencies Union on its Facebook page Tuesday.

The regime’s reported execution of the five PLA officers prompted dozens of PLA soldiers to defect and form a new opposition brigade, the “Free Palestinian Liberation Army,” Orient News reported on Tuesday.

Although it is technically part of the PLO, the PLA in Syria fights for the Assad government.  Five PLA soldiers were killed while fighting in Tel Kurdi near Douma, and another died outside Damascus in Deir Atia fighting rebels side-by-side with the Syrian regime, reported the Syrian Solution on Wednesday. 

Al-Hasakah: YPG, Islamic State in push-and-pull fighting

YPG units took nine villages south of Qamishli in East Hasakah province on Tuesday from the Islamic State (IS), reported the pro-Kurdish ARA News.

The YPG cooperated with Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga units to capture the first four villages located near the town of Jaza’a, along the border with Iraq, with support from international coalition air strikes on IS targets, the report claimed.

YPG units also seized five villages located near the town of Tal Hamees in the south Qamishli countryside, which has witnessed intense fighting between IS and YPG since Sunday, when the former reportedly captured 30 villages in the area.

“YPG units combed the area surrounding al-Jaza’a in an attempt to cut off IS supply lines in the area,” Raman Haso, a Kurdish activist in Hasakah, told Syria Direct.

“Peshmerga cooperating with YPG shelled the villages from across the border with Iraq,” he added.

YPG units were able to cut off the road between Tal Hamees and the village of al-Howl, currently under IS control, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday.

“This road was a critical supply line for IS,” said Haso.

Nearly 50 families reportedly fled Tal Hamees for al-Howl and surrounding villages on Sunday due to fighting in the area between IS and YPG forces.

In related news, IS was able to take 10 villages near the town of Tal Tamar in the West Hasakah countryside in clashes with YPG forces reported the pro-IS news outlet A’amaq reported on Tuesday. IS fighters were able to capture 28 YPG fighters during the clashes, reported other pro-IS media outlets. Syria Direct could not independently confirm these claims.

Tel-Hamees12 YPG fighter targets IS in al-Hasakah. Photo courtesy of Ara News.

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