3 min read  | Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Politics

SYRIA DIRECT: NEWS UPDATE 4-23-2014


April 23, 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.

Rebels withdraw from short-lived gain in Old Homs

The Syrian government and National Defense Force militias announced Tuesday they had regained complete control of Jeb al-Jandali east of Old Homs after rebels withdrew from the neighborhood due to a lack of manpower. “The operation…succeeded in sending a message that the heroic fighters and mujahideen of Homs have the ability at any moment to penetrate the regime and the shabiha’s first line of defense,” a pro-opposition citizen journalist in Old Homs, Abu Rami al-Homsi, wrote on Facebook Tuesday, touting the rebels’ first advance outside Old Homs since June 2012.

Meanwhile, Syrian government forces shelled the neighborhoods of Bab al-Houd, al-Qusour and al-Qarabis inside Old Homs one week after intensifying an effort to seize complete control of the neighborhoods, encircled by government forces since June 2012. Since a temporary United Nations-brokered truce allowed the entry of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of some 1,400 citizens, dozens of rebels have surrendered themselves amidst widespread starvation.

38 barrel bombs fall on Aleppo as ICRC makes humanitarian plea

Thirty-eight barrel bombs fell on rebel-controlled east Aleppo neighborhoods on Tuesday as the Syrian air force continued its months-long campaign to regain control there. The barrel bomb campaign coincided with a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) decrying humanitarian conditions in Aleppo and deploring “all parties to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

The ICRC “is appalled by a sharp escalation of violence,” the statement reads, adding that the only crossing between government- and rebel-held areas of the divided city has been closed for months. For more than a week, there has been no electricity in Syria’s former industrial capital, compounding other humanitarian crises and limiting access to clean water, a shortage pro-government newspaper al-Watan blamed on “terrorist groups” who cut the main pumping station north of the city.

A dress store in Aleppo following Tuesday’s barrel bomb attack. Photo courtesy of Halab Today TV.

17th shipment of chemicals removed amidst new CW claims

A 17th shipment of chemical materials was removed from the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, bringing the overall quantity of chemicals shipped out of Syria to 86.5 percent of the country’s total, including 88.7 percent of the country’s most dangerous chemicals, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. “This latest consignment is encouraging,” said OPCW’s Director-General in a press release Tuesday. “We hope that the remaining two or three consignments are delivered quickly to permit destruction operations to get underway.” This news, however, coincides with mounting accusations from the Syrian opposition that Damascus has launched new chemical attacks in parts of Idlib, Hama and, on Tuesday, in the Damascus suburb of Daraya, where rebels released grainy video purporting to show the aftermath of a new government attack with “bombs containing poison gas.”

Government officials from France, the United States and Israel have all issued statements warning that there is reason to believe there have been new chemical attacks in the past month, despite the accelerated pace of chemical consignments leaving Syria.

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