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Syria Direct: News Update 8-5-2014

Tribe rescinds IS support in Deir e-Zor The Islamic State […]

5 August 2014

Tribe rescinds IS support in Deir e-Zor

The Islamic State (IS) wrested control of the village of Sweidan in Syria’s oil rich Deir e-Zor province from local Sunni tribes Monday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The IS issued an announcement Monday saying that all villages under the control of the al-Shiatat tribe in Deir e-Zor province are to be considered a military zone, effective within 24 hours, and called on non-combatants to flee.

The al-Shiatat tribe had pledged allegiance to IS before the current round of hostilities, which began, according to various sources, when the latter kidnapped up to three members of the tribe. The IS then summarily executed the prisoner(s) on July 30th, according to the London-based paper al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The former FSA leader of the Eastern Province, Muhammad al-Aboud, called the tribal uprising in Deir e-Zor against IS, in an August 5th interview with al-Arabi al-Jadeed, a result of the group’s “arrogance, and an expression of the people’s rejection of this organization.”

Rebels break Mleiha siege

Rebels will continue their efforts to complete the takeover of Mleiha, according to the rebel group Failuq a-Rahman’s spokesman Abu Rahman, after an alliance of it and other Islamist rebels broke a months-long regime siege against the strategic Outer Damascus town.

“The rebels have reinforced their positions and barricades in order to repel any attack by the regime,” Abu Rahman told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

“We will now follow up by liberating the entire town.”

On Sunday, a Tunisian rebel fighter carried out a suicide bomb attack against a cluster of buildings that blocked the supply route into the town, thereby opening the way into Mleiha, the Local Council of Mleiha reported Monday.

The regime launched an intense air and ground campaign for Mleiha last month because of its strategic position as an entrance to East Ghouta and on the road to the Damascus International Airport. State media has not covered recent events in Mleiha.

Lebanese army battles to regain Arsal

Lebanese armed forces say they advanced Monday night against the village of Arsal, which shares a 20km border with Syria, occupying most of the hills located on the Arsal Mountain Range’s eastern chain, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

Fighting has raged, uniting two unlikely allies, Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS), against the Lebanese army since the latter two groups took control of the village on Saturday night, an escalation which the Lebanese army calls “the most dangerous development Lebanon and the Lebanese people have been exposed to.”

Embedded image permalinkLebanese army soldiers in Arsal. Photo courtesy of @alalam_news.

This past Saturday, Lebanese forces in Arsal arrested Amad Ahed Juma, variously referred to as an a-Nusra leader, and a leader of the Fajr al-Islam Brigade, who had sworn allegiance to IS in recent months.  

Fighters thought to belong to Nusra and the Islamic State entered the village hours later, capturing the town in its entirety that night.

Arsal, a majority-Sunni town in majority-Shia Baalbek province, is home to an estimated 5,000 Syrian rebel fighters, who withdrew from Qalamoun after being defeated by Hezbullah and the Syrian army. They then began to use the town as a base for launching cross-border attacks.

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