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.
Assad officially announces candidacy in June elections
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday morning officially announced his intention to stand for reelection in June 3 balloting, according to state news agency SANA. Assad’s declaration brings the total number of candidates to seven after four new candidates submitted their applications Sunday. The new candidates are Susan Hadad, an engineer from Syria’s northwestern Latakia province, Samir Ahmad al-Ma’ala, a professor of international law from Quneitra, Mohammad Firas Rajouh from Damascus and Abd a-Salam Yussuf Salama from Homs. Sunday’s announcements follow the nominations last week of two Syrian members of parliament, Maher Abdul al-Hafiz Hajjar and Hassan Abd al-Nouri, with incumbent President Bashar al-Assad yet to officially announce his candidacy.
Pro-Assad daily al-Watan cited the head of Syria’s Supreme Elections Committee declaration that “Syrians who left the country illegally have no right to cast their votes,” suggesting that Damascus will exclude a large portion of the roughly 2.5 million refugees who have fled Syria over the past three years. Western diplomats and Syrian oppositionists characterize the upcoming elections as a “parody” of democracy, with Assad having won his last two seven-year terms with over 97 percent of the vote.
Regime MiG warplane hits IDP camp, activists say
A child was killed and five injured when a Syrian Air Force MiG warplane struck near a school in the Qah Camp for Internally Displaced Persons on the country’s northern border with Turkey Monday, Mulham Jundi, a pro-opposition media activist in the camp, told Syria Direct. The camp in Idlib province is situated between the rebel-held Bab al-Hawa and Bab Atmeh border crossings with Turkey.
Iraq strikes ISIS convoy inside Syria
Iraqi army helicopters shelled a convoy of eight trucks belonging to transnational extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) inside Syrian territory near the Deir e-Zor border town of Albukamal Sunday, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior announced, adding the convoy was ferrying oil to ISIS vehicles in the western province of Anbar. ISIS combatants have established pockets of control in majority-Sunni Anbar province, capitalizing on local discontent with Shi’a Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government in Baghdad. Over the past two years, ISIS has vied for control of the oil-rich eastern province of Deir e-Zor with al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat a-Nusra.
Rebels reprise Aleppo tunnel tactic
The Islamic Front detonated a Syrian army headquarters in the Old Aleppo neighborhood of Seba’a Baharat Sunday, claiming to have advanced and killed 90 regime troops amidst a bloody deadlock in central Aleppo. Rebels dug a tunnel dozens of meters long under the building and detonated it from below, reprising a tactic used to destroy regime bases in an old hotel and courthouse in the city, avoiding the dense sniper fire and entrenched positions both sides hold above ground. Meanwhile, the Syrian air force dropped six barrel bombs on the city of Aleppo Sunday, pro-opposition Sham News Network reported, while pro-government newspaper al-Watan reported rebel shelling on government-controlled neighborhood had “martyred 24 civilians and injured 52 others.”
Rebels in Aleppo exploded a regime headquarters in Old Aleppo after digging a tunnel dozens of meters under the building. Photo courtesy of moulahazat.
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