2 min read  | Damascus, Idlib, Politics, Reef Dimashq

Syria Direct: News Update 5-4-2015


May 4, 2015

Battle for Douma moves next door

Regime forces unsuccessfully attempted to capture a village next to the East Ghouta rebels’ de-facto stronghold of Douma city, the spokesman for Jaish al-Islam told Syria Direct on Monday.

Islam Alloush denied reports circulating in pro-regime media that the Syrian army had retaken Medaa on Sunday, noting that the “school and the mosque,” two of the most well-known landmarks in the town, “are still under Jaish al-Islam control.”

A local citizen journalist sympathetic to JAI confirmed Alloush’s narrative to Syria Direct, adding that the Syrian army had only taken control of three points inside the town.

The pro-regime al-Mayadeen network reported Sunday that the army retook Medaa and the surrounding farms, just as it “laid low large numbers of militants, both killed and wounded.”

Nusra moves on Hezbollah positions near Lebanese border

Jabhat a-Nusra began a campaign to push Hezbollah forces out of the Qalamoun region Monday, attacking a number of Hezbollah positions in the Syrian-Lebanese border region, a local media activist told Syria Direct.

“Through these attacks, Jabhat a-Nusra is announcing that it is ready for a confrontation, after rumors circulated in the media that the rebels were going to pull out of Qalamoun,” said Ahmad al-Qalamouni, the alias of a member of the Qalamoun Media Office.

Fighting was ongoing at the time of publishing, reported al-Qalamouni.

Hezbollah’s official news network reported that the regime forces and their allies had foiled rebel attacks in Asal al-Ward and al-Juba.

Jabhat al-Nusra played up their preparation for the anticipated battle, posting pictures of its fighters training on anti-tank rockets to its Twitter account on Sunday.

Accusations of chlorine attack in Idlib province

Regime helicopters reportedly dropped barrel bombs filled with chlorine gas on several villages in the Jabal a-Zawiya region of Idlib province, a correspondent with pro-opposition Idlib News Network located in the area told Syria Direct Monday.

Ten were injured in the attack on Sunday, among them women and children, and “most of the cases that headed to the hospital were cases of suffocation, whereas not a single soldier was among them,” said Ibrahim al-Ismael.

Pro-opposition activists circulated video footage Sunday reportedly showing children and an elderly man being treated for gas inhalation.

Regime forces have conducted 19 gas attacks on Idlib province since the beginning of the revolution, according to an April report published by the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

A shell suspected to have been armed with chlorine gas in Idlib. Photo courtesy of Jabal a-Zaweya Today.

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