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Syria Direct: News Update 4-10-2014

In our News Roundup, we summarize the day’s most important […]

10 April 2014

In our News Roundup, we summarize the day’s most important events from local sources inside Syria. Subscribe here to have it delivered to your inbox. 

Regime claims to control Rankous, Qalamoun

Syrian state news reported Thursday that the Syrian army had “restored security and stability to the town of Rankous” in Syria’s Qalamoun mountain range, as government and Hezbollah forces seek to consolidate their control of the area after ousting rebels from their main base in the town of Yabroud last month. The government claims come a day after reports that government forces had intensified their bombardment of Rankous in preparation for an offensive. Pro-opposition Orient News downplayed the events, saying Wednesday that regime media has been “ignoring the fact that Rankous is neutral based on a previous agreement, and activists in the area confirmed that rebel brigades have no presence in the town because of the agreement.” Large numbers of rebel fighters reportedly fled to Rankous after their defeat in Yabroud, roughly 35 kilometers to Rankous’ northeast.

Regime forces bombarded the Qalamoun town of Rankous on Wednesday.

Mleiha battle locked in stalemate

Rebel forces are resisting a government campaign in the Eastern Ghouta Damascus suburb of al-Mleiha for a tenth consecutive day Thursday, Abu al-Aadi, a spokesperson for rebel group Feiliq a-Rahman, told Syria Direct Thursday. On Wednesday, pro-Assad Syrian daily al-Watan reported that government troops had continued to advance around al-Mleiha. Syrian forces and an Iraqi Shiite battalion, Assad Allah al-Ghalib Battalion, began targeting the Damascus suburb of al-Mleiha 10 days ago, aiming to secure the regime’s control over the road to the Damascus International Airport.

Rebels seize arms depot in Quneitra

The Syrian Revolutionaries Front released a video Wednesday purporting to show its fighters seizing a major arms depot in the Tel Ahmar hills of Syria’s southwestern Quneitra province, with some opposition media claiming that the site is the third-largest regime arms depot in Syria. Doha-based analyst Charles Lister suggested Thursday that the depot’s contents resemble anti-tank weapons, specifically RPG-29s and ATGMs. Rebel fighters have announced two military campaigns in Quneitra over the past week, one entitled “The Echo of Anfal and the other “The Dawn of Unity in Support of Anfal,” both of whose names refer to opposition’s ongoing “Anfal” campaign in northwestern Latakia province. The fighting in Quneitra, which sits along Syria’s southwestern border with Israel, has centered an the Tel Ahmar hills, which the regime uses as a base to shell rebel held areas in the vicinity and which opposition fighters have besieged since early this year.

Car bombings target Alawite neighborhood of Homs 

Two car bombs killed four and injured dozens in the Alawite-majority regime-controlled Homs neighborhood of Karam al-Loz Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The first bomb detonated on a crowded civilian thoroughfare in front of a sweet shop, while the second exploded 30 minutes later on the same street, according to Syrian state news agency SANA. The agency reported that 25 were killed and 107 injured in the twin blasts, accusing al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat a-Nusra of carrying out the attacks. Syrian troops retain control of the majority of Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, but opposition forces have managed to claim the al-Wa’er neighborhood—home to hundreds of thousands of displaced—and the 13 neighborhoods of Old Homs, which have been totally encircled by government forces for more than 660 days.

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