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Syria Direct: News Update 4-7-2014

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

7 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.

Syria’s regime out of danger, says Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah told pro-Hezbollah newspaper a-Safir in comments published Monday that the Syrian regime is no longer in danger of being overthrown and that the risk of terrorism in Syria and Lebanon has decreased. “The danger of the Syrian regime falling has ended, and we have passed the risk of partition [in Syria],” Nasrallah said. Hezbollah has not faced internal schisms as a result of its role in Syria, the Shiite militia leader said, but “on the contrary, there was a faction that was hesitant, but it has resolved to stand with us,” and added that many backers of the anti-Hezbollah March 14 party “support our intervention in Syria to protect Lebanon from takfiri terrorist groups.”

Hassan NasrallahHezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told a Lebanese newspaper Sunday that the Syrian government is no longer in danger of being overthrown.

Homs rebels surrender en masse

Twenty-eight rebel combatants holding out in encircled Old Homs surrendered themselves and their weapons to regime forces Monday, official government news agency SANA reported. Their surrender comes one day after around 30 rebels were killed when an explosive-laden tank blew up near a rebel operations center, according to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and various pro-government media outlets. The 13 neighborhoods of Old Homs have been encircled by Syrian government troops for 670 days, who have barred the entry of humanitarian aid and the exit of civilians for all but a short-lived, 9-day truce in late January and early February 2014.

Jabhat a-Nusra claims Yabroud gains

Jabhat a-Nusra spokesman Abdallah Azzam a-Shami announced early Monday morning that rebel fighters had mounted a suicide attack and ground operation to “demolish Hezbollah and [Iranian] Republican Guard strongholds” in the town of Ras al-Ain, southwest of the strategic town of Yabroud in Syria’s Qalamoun mountain range, of which regime and Hezbollah forces gained control last month. Pro-Assad Syrian daily al-Watan also reported fresh fighting near Yabroud, stating Monday that the Syrian army carried out an operation southwest of the town that killed and injured many “terrorists” and destroyed their weapons. Al-Watan also cited an anonymous source reporting that a regime military patrol along the Syrian-Lebanese border had arrested four Syrian militants near the Sunni Lebanese village of Arsal, which has been a key refuge and resupply point for rebels. The fighting comes roughly three weeks after regime and Hezbollah forces uprooted rebel fighters from Yabroud, their main military base in the Qalamoun mountain range north of Damascus, as pro-Assad forces have pushed to extent their control to areas west of Yabroud.

Coalition completes elections

The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition completed elections for its 18-member political commission Sunday night, re-electing five incumbent members. Prominent Syrian Christian activist Michel Kilo, who recently founded the Syrian Democratic Union, was not re-elected to the body. Adnan Hazouri and Mahia al-Din Banan were elected as the Coalition’s ministers of health and education, respectively. In the final day of a three-day conference Monday, the Coalition will discuss conditions for granting aid inside Syria. Since the conclusion of the Geneva II peace talks in February 2014, the Coalition, whose decision to represent the opposition was largely derided among rebel groups inside Syria, has made a concerted effort to rebrand itself as influential in rebel military operations and in local governance in rebel-controlled areas.

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