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Syria Direct: News Update 8-21-2014

Rebels attack Hama town next to airport Rebels lead by […]

21 August 2014

Rebels attack Hama town next to airport

Rebels lead by Jabhat a-Nusra shelled the town of Sheiha with missiles Thursday as they intensify their efforts to capture the regime-controlled Hama military airport, according to pro-opposition Sham News Network.

“Opposition fighters have made progress in Sheiha,” an unnamed source told pro-regime Syria News Thursday, a claim that could be immediately verified.

The town of Sheiha is located just west of the provincial capital, and only a few kilometers north of the airport. Over the past two weeks, the rebels have fought the regime all over the province, with the larger goal of taking the airport.

The attacks on Sheiha follow unverified reports that the rebels managed to destroy an airplane inside the airport with missile fire Wednesday, according to pro-opposition news Ikhwan Syria.

The Hama airport is one of the main regime bases in the region and is the source of the regime’s military advantage as the launching pad for aerial attacks.

Hama ProvinceRebel reinforcements arrive in Hama province. Photo courtesy of @mabdi000

IS consolidates control over Deir e-Zor

The Islamic State conducted a campaign against the remnants of Jabhat a-Nusra in Deir e-Zor, arresting and executing a number of people affiliated with a-Nusra on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Jordanian news agency Assabeel.

IS targeted relatives of a-Nusra in the town of Shahil, Deir e-Zor, reported SOHR, on the charges that they had fought against IS. The fate of the prisoners is unclear. Shahil was the a-Nusra stronghold in Deir e-Zor prior to being taken over by IS.

“IS executed a Shariah (Islamic law) official associated with a number of Islamic battalions against IS in Deir e-Zor,” activists told Assabeel Wednesday.

The official, Mohammed Sheikh Malqeb, was a member of the Jabhat a-Nusra-affiliated Shariah Agency.

IS also seized at least 15 houses with inhabitants related to a-Nusra in the town Mohsen, Deir e-Zor, according to pro-regime Alhadath News.

Just a few months ago, Jabhat a-Nusra had been the dominate force in the oil-rich eastern province. Now, IS controls most of the region.

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