JAN claims Damascus bombing
Jabhat a-Nusra claimed credit for a suicide operation at a key government building in Damascus that killed an unspecified number of soldiers in an announcement released Monday.
“Supplies for all Syrian army and intelligence positions originates at the Supply and Provisions Building,” Abu Mohammed al-Bardawi, a spokesman for the rebel brigade Abdal a-Sham—previously involved in bombings inside Damascus—told Syria Direct Tuesday.
The three men who carried out the operation entered the Supply and Provisions Building dressed in Syrian army attire, Yasir a-Doumani, alias of the head of the pro-opposition Syrian Media Organization, told Syria Direct Tuesday.
According to Nusra’s announcement, one blew up his suicide vest while the others fought with Syrian army soldiers until “they obtained what they were hoping for.”
Also on Monday, the head of the Supply and Provision Organization, Mohammed Eid, was targeted by a car bomb as his convoy passed through Rukn a-Din, in the same district as the bombed building, reported pro-opposition Orient News. No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.
Rukn a-Din is located in northern Damascus.
“The specialized agencies took out a group of terrorists while pursuing them east of Rukn a-Din,” reported state-owned news agency SANA Monday, without mentioning the Supply and Provisions building.
New battle in north Homs to cut regime supply route
The “Backing of the Oppressed” joint operations room announced a new campaign on its Facebook page Tuesdaycentered on the northern Homs countryside in response to the “tyrant’s [Assad’s] forces excessively targeting civilians.”
Among other goals, the campaign aims to capture the regime stronghold of Jaburin, which would cut off regime supply routes from the coast to Homs city.
Rebels had managed to take control of four regime checkpoints as of Tuesday, reported the Islamic Front, one of the participating rebel groups.
Also on Tuesday, the regime struck nearby Telbieseh with barrel bombs, vacuum missiles, and heavy artillery fire, reported pro-opposition Homs Media Center.
“The regime is scared of losing Jaburin,” Hussam Badrakhan, a member of the Homs Youth Gathering in the Northern Countryside, told Syria Direct Tuesday, adding that the city had been struck by 16 airstrikes since Tuesday morning.
Friends of Syria Direct reporter Osama Abu Zeid run from a regime barrel bomb on Talbieseh in north Homs. Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Taha.
‘Qalamoun Conquest Army’ approaches regime-controlled villages
The rebel campaign against Hezbollah and regime forces in the Lebanese-Syrian border region progressed on Tuesday as rebels closed in on two regime-controlled villages in the foothills of the Qalamoun Mountains, a local reporter told Syria Direct.
“The battle is currently ongoing in Arsal al-Ward and al-Juba, and al-Juba is nearly completely encircled except for some positions that opposition forces retreated from,” said Aram al-Doumani, a correspondent for opposition news outlet Souriya Press.
“Hezbollah is trying to put pressure on the opposition, coming from al-Nahle in Lebanon, with the regime pushing from Yabroud,” al-Doumani continued, explaining the regime’s strategy to carry out a pincer movement against rebel forces in Qalamoun by advancing from the east and west.
Rebel factions, including Jabhat a-Nusra and other Islamist factions, began a joint campaign to push Hezbollah back into Lebanon under the banner the “Qalamoun Conquest Army” on Monday.
“Our goal is to capture Qalamoun but if Hezbollah attacks us then we will send forces to the village from where the attack was launched even if it is on the Lebanese side of the border,” a leader with one of the participating rebel battalions was quotedas saying by the opposition Smart News Agency on Monday.