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Syria Direct: News Update 4-6-2014

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

6 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 progress in quest to break rebel siege of Aleppo prison

Pro-rebel media on Sunday denied reports that Syrian forces had seized a-Ta’aneh hill overlooking the Sheikh Najar industrial area in northern Aleppo, five kilometers east of the Aleppo Central Prison. The pro-government newspaper al-Watan called Saturday’s campaign for a-Ta’aneh an attempt to “break the siege” on the regime-controlled, rebel-encircled facility. A-Ta’aneh lies on a critical rebel supply road, Tariq al-Bab, that connects rebel groups fighting block-for-block inside the city of Aleppo with rebel-controlled northern Aleppo province. As part of the advance, al-Watan reported, government troops also seized rebel-controlled military installations, Air Force Intelligence Branch 606 and the Brigade 80 Base, which previously oversaw the defense of Aleppo’s two airports, one military and one civilian. Meanwhile, the Syrian air force continued its three-month-long barrel bomb campaign in Aleppo, dropping the makeshift explosive devices Saturday in the largely abandoned neighborhoods of Masakin Hanano and a-Shaar, Aleppo News Network repeated. 

1 Syrian killed in Zaatari protest

One Syrian was killed and two hospitalized while 28 members of Jordanian security forces were injured during a protest inside Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan Saturday. Accounts of the incident differ between Jordanian security forces and Syrian activists. Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad reports the shooter in the incident remains unknown, citing a Jordanian security source who reported a group of protesters had “attempted to attack security forces’ headquarters inside the camp.” Meanwhile, pro-opposition Syrian news site Zaman al-Wasl reported that clashes began as a result of security forces’ “forbidding groups of young men and women who had been working on nearby farms to return to the camp.” As a video circulated online depicts shouting protesters carrying a young man covered in blood, activists on the “Za’atari Coordination Committee” Facebook page reported protests escalated when security forces at the camp’s eastern gate threatened to “send two young women back to Syria,” sparking a massive protest in which security forces used tear gas and fired upon the protesters.

ZataariSmoke rises from a fire in northern Jordan’s Zaatari camp Saturday, where one Syrian was killed and 22 Jordanian security forces injured in violent protests. Photo courtesy of the Zaatari Coordination Committee.

Syrian forces redouble efforts to conquer East, West Ghouta

Syrian government forces have launched a campaign to uproot rebel forces from the areas of Eastern and Western Ghouta in Outer Damascus in order to secure the Syrian capital and the route to the Damascus International Airport, according to pro-Assad Lebanese daily al-Mayadeen. Al-Mayadeen added that the campaign began last week around the heavily contested village of al-Mleiha, roughly 10 kilometers east of Damascus, with the Syrian army claiming to have advanced in the farmland surrounding the town. Meanwhile, pro-opposition news site All4Syria reported Friday that rebels had mounted a “lightening” operation along the road to the Damascus International Airport, killing more than 160 fighters from the regime’s 81st Brigade and taking the group’s leader prisoner. All4Syria added that among the regime casualties was Ali Haidar, the general responsible for the government campaign against al-Mleiha. Al-Mleiha, which lies between the Syrian capital and rebel-held areas of outer Damascus, has been the site of heavy fighting for nearly 18 months.

Syrian Coalition holds meetings in Istanbul

The Western-backed opposition Syrian National Coalition is holding elections for the body’s political commission and its health, education and interior ministers on Sunday during the second day of a three-day conference in Istanbul. In addition, the coalition will discuss the latest reports from the Coalition’s representatives to the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany and the United Nations, before discussing “the refugee situation” Monday, pro-opposition al-Masar Media reported. The Western-backed body remains deeply divided over the decision to attend the Geneva II peace talks that began in Montreux, Switzerland in January and ended the following month.

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