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Syria Direct: News Update 7-3-2014

Regime forces in decisive Aleppo battle Regime forces advanced farther […]

3 July 2014

Regime forces in decisive Aleppo battle

Regime forces advanced farther into the industrial city in Aleppo’s Sheikh Najjar district Thursday, as fighting continued between rebels and the Syrian army on the outskirts of the area, according to pro-regime al-Mayadin Channel.

Pro-opposition news network Aksalser corroborated the report, noting that “overlapping news sources” had confirmed Syrian army control over large swathes of the industrial city.

Embedded image permalinkThe entrance to Sheikh Najjar Industrial City outside Aleppo. Photo courtesy of @2Rook14.

“The area was exposed to more than 20 air raids this morning,” a citizen journalist named Yassin told Syria Direct, “which coincided with the regime gaining control of wide parts of the industrial city, especially industrial area 3.”

“They are now moving to gain control of the entire industrial city.”

The industrial city is considered one of the most important rebel-held points in the city of Aleppo. It is home to several factories and provides entrance to Aleppo from the northeast, as regime forces attempt to encircle Aleppo militarily and close points of entry and exit.

HRW: All sides commit violations against Syrian women

The Syrian government, pro-government forces and opposition forces—including the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat a-Nusra—have all committed human rights violations against women, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Thursday.

One woman interviewed by HRW said she was arrested for distributing medical supplies in Aleppo. She said the police electrocuted her when she refused to reveal the names of other activists.

The HRW report also documents the complex and varied roles that women have played since the onset of the conflict, working as activists, distributing aid and assuming greater responsibility in the household as a result of male deaths in the family.

The New York-based rights group compiled information from interviews with 17 Syrian women who are now refugees in Turkey.

More than 1,500 women have been detained in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, according to the Syrian monitoring group Violations Documentation Center.

The HRW report was released on the eve of a UN convention Friday in Geneva that will review the current status of Syrian women.

Jabhat a-Nusra fighters defect as IS closes in

A group of fighters affiliated with Jabhat a-Nusra in Deir e-Zor defected to the Islamic State (IS) in a video posted online Wednesday, reported pro-opposition news site Aksalser on Thursday.

“We have decided to declare allegiance to IS and the Muslim caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” announced fighters from the village of a-Shuail, in the countryside of Deir e-Zor.

The fighters include members of local tribes, Jaish al-Islam, Liwa Akhlas and the Islamic Jaish Mu’eta, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The defections come in the wake of IS capturing the town of al-Kasar, the site of a Jabhat a-Nusra base in Deir e-Zor just north of a-Shuail, on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, IS gained control of the Syria-Iraq border town of al-Bokamel in Deir e-Zor on Tuesday after clashes in the city over the weekend.

The eastern, oil-rich province of Deir e-Zor has been a battleground between IS, opposition fighters, and the regime for several months.

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