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Syria Direct: News Update 6-25-2014

Regime targets ISIS headquarters in A-Raqqa The Syrian regime continued […]

25 June 2014

Regime targets ISIS headquarters in A-Raqqa

The Syrian regime continued its offensive on the ISIS-controlled city of A-Raqqa Wednesday, carrying out seven air raids that resulted in several dead and wounded.

“Three raids targeted ISIS headquarters directly,” field activist Abu Bakr, based in A-Raqqa, told Syria Direct, adding that “the remaining raids hit civilian areas.”

The city of A-Raqqa has witnessed near-daily bombing from regime warplanes and artillery over the past 10 days. The Syrian military has ramped up pressure on the provincial capital, now controlled by ISIS, since ISIS initiated its campaign in Iraq earlier this month.

The Syrian government has not yet commented on its air campaign against ISIS in Syria’s only rebel-controlled province.

In Iraq, the head of the Kirkuk city council, Muneer Kafili, was killed when gunmen pulled up alongside his car and opened fire. Kurdish forces took oil-rich Kirkuk on June 12th, located roughly 160 miles north of Baghdad, after ISIS began its offensive in Iraq.

Car bomb in pro-regime Homs

A car bomb reportedly killed at least one person and injured 23 Tuesday in the pro-government neighborhood of Wadi a-Dahab in Homs city, according to the pro-regime National Defense Forces militia in Homs. No party has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We are surprised by the car bomb in this pro-regime neighborhood and how the [perpetrators] were not discovered, especially in light of the security conditions and barriers in the area,” Hasan Abu Zein, a pro-opposition media activist who lives in Homs, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

A second car bomb hits a pro-regime district in Homs. Photo of @p_vanostaeyen.

The official news agency SANA appeared to confirm that the attack took place on Tuesday, quoting the Director of Health in Homs, Hassan Jindi, who told SANA that one person died and 23 others were injured in the explosion.

Tuesday’s car bomb is the second to be carried out in the Wadi a-Dahab neighborhood this month. The first killed seven people and injured dozens more. Jabhat a-Nusra claimed credit for the attack.

Last month, rebels led by the Free Syrian Army surrendered their positions in the Old City of Homs, having been surrounded by the Syrian army for two years. The city is now almost exclusively in regime control.

UNHCR: 1,000 killed in Iraq this month

At least 1,000 people have died and more than 1,000 others have been injured in Iraq since the beginning of the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and other local groups in early June, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), Robert Colville.

Of those causalities, at least 757 civilians were killed in the provinces of Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din, which were attacked by ISIS and local supporters between June 5 and June 22.

“These heinous crimes against unarmed citizens continue to be committed in broad daylight with the blessing of some countries,” Alia Naseef, a member of Iraqi parliament, told Iraqi pro-government newspaper Almasalah Wednesday, describing the killings as a “genocide.” She did not state which countries she was referring to.

The numbers were gathered by UN investigators looking to verify alleged human rights violations unfolding in Iraq since the beginning of this month.

These “figures…should be viewed very much as a minimum,” added Colville.

The team did confirm a summary execution of prisoners in Mosul conducted by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in which “grenades were reportedly thrown into rooms filled with detainees,” killing 10, when the ISF fled from the city.

Pentagon accuses Syria of Iraq air strike

The US Pentagon denied rumors on Tuesday that it was responsible for an air raid on the western Iraqi district al-Qaim, instead accusing the Syrian government of the attack.

The air strike reportedly hit the towns of Hasbia and al-Ratba in al-Qaim Tuesday, Jordanian news agency Assebeel reported. The attack targeted a gas station, a flea market and a bank, allegedly killing 50 and injuring more than 130, reported Iraqi pro-opposition news satellite channel Sharqiya.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

“Press reports that US drones struck ISIL [ISIS] targets in Iraq today are false.  No such action has been taken,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The bombing comes in the wake of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) seizing control over the Syria-Iraq al-Qaim border crossing and other towns in western Anbar province last weekend.

Meanwhile, the first half of the 300 US military advisors sent to aid the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Tuesday.

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