Rebels move deeper into Aleppo city
Three rebel brigades formed an independent joint operations room Sunday to capture a district in northwest Aleppo overlooking large swathes of the city’s west.
The Izzat Halab operations room, which is separate from the Aleppo Victory Army, has set its sights on Al-Khalidiya, “an elevated area overlooking Nile Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, and al-Mukambu, one of the richest neighborhoods,” citizen journalist Ahmed al-Ahmed told Syria Direct from Aleppo on Monday.
The operations room, which includes FSA division 101 and 16 and the Harakat Mujahideen al-Islam, began its work Sunday by capturing the Defense Factories compound that straddles al-Khalidiya neighborhood to the west, reported the pro-opposition SmartNews radio network.
“The Syrian army is bearing down on militants fortified inside buildings in al-Khalidiya,” reported Hezbollah’s outlet Al-Manar Sunday.
Rebels with the Izzat Halab operations room on the outskirts of al-Khalidiya. Photo courtesy of Mujahidi al-Islam Movement.
Hama soldiers take advantage of infighting to defect
Nearly two dozen regime soldiers reportedly defected from a village in the Sahl al-Ghab plane in the northwest Hama countryside two weeks after the Victory Brigade announced a campaign to clear checkpoints in the area.
“The defections took place on Saturday at the a-Nahl checkpoint near the city of a-Saqilbiya…and were coordinated by the FSA,” a member of the Hama Revolutionary Coordination Committee who requested anonymity told Syria Direct Monday.
Pro-opposition Siraj Press put the number of defectors at 20.
The defectors took advantage of a firefight between two brigades within the National Defense Forces in the town of a-Saqilbiya to make their escape, reported pro-opposition Orient News Monday.
YPG, FSA 45km north of A-Raqqa city
Joint FSA and YPG forces captured Brigade 93 from the Islamic State near the town of Ain Issa, 45km north of A-Raqqa city on Monday, announced the Revolutionaries of A-Raqqa Brigade on their Facebook page.
“Brigade 93 is located in an elevated area, the control of which will facilitate the process of advancing on and capturing the village of Ain Issa,” a spokesman for the Revolutionaries, one of the local groups fighting alongside YPG and FSA forces in the joint Euphrates Volcano campaign to drive the Islamic State out of a-Raqqa province, told Syria Direct Monday.
“Rebels combed through Brigade 93 after gaining control of it,” the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently media campaign reported on Monday.
“Brigade 93 will be a launching point for [future] attacks,” the rebel spokesman said.