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Syria Direct: News Update 9-15-14

Al-Waer squeezed as truce pressure mounts The regime intensified military […]

15 September 2014

Al-Waer squeezed as truce pressure mounts

The regime intensified military operations in the FSA-holdout district of Al-Waer in the city of Homs Sunday by striking the neighborhood with artillery shells and improvised explosive cylinders, resulting in an unspecified number of dead and wounded, according to pro-opposition Waer News Network.

“The regime is trying to pressure the neighborhood with bombing, to force the civilians and rebels to agree to the regime’s truce conditions,” a member of the Homs Media Center, told Syria Direct Monday.

Pro-regime Syrian News Station reported Monday that “army units destroyed four armored vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, and took out a number of terrorists.”

The district of Al-Waer, which is home to around 300,000 people, has been besieged for nearly a year amidst negotiations that would allow rebels to depart for the northern outskirts of the city, similar to that signed in the districts of Old Homs in May.

During that time, the regime “has continued to prevent the entry of food [into Al-Waer],” the activist said, corroborating other opposition accounts of the situation. “Still, the civilians insist that rebels not hand over their weapons or leave the district without guarantees [of safe passage].”

Missiles destroy Deir e-Zor lifeline

Surface-to-surface missiles struck the predominantly Islamic State-controlled city of Deir e-Zor Monday, crippling the Siyasiya Bridge, the principal crossing that connects it to the surrounding countryside, according to pro-opposition Sham News Network.

The Siyasiya Bridge was the main entry point for food and medicine into Deir e-Zor city. As of publishing, no party had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, regime warplanes carried out airstrikes over the weekend on an IS training camp near a salt mine in the eastern outskirts of Deir e-Zor province, killing 50 combatants, according to the Kurdish news agency ARA News.

IS did not comment on the attack

The regime intensified military maneuvers in and around Deir e-Zor city since the Islamic State began massing troops around the Deir e-Zor airport the week of August 25 in preparation for an assault.

As of publishing, it is unclear whether IS has attempted to storm the airport itself.

Regime scores victories in northern Hama

The regime launched a series of airstrikes in northern Hama Monday, switching their attention to two rebel-held towns after capturing Halfaya on Thursday, according to the pro-opposition news agency Local Coordinating Committees of Syria.

Mourek and Kafr Zeita sit along the highway connecting Hama and Idlib to the north. The two towns are situated just north of Halfaya.

“Air strikes are happening against Mourek in north Hama province,” reported pro-opposition news agency Smart News Agency Monday. 

Halfaya had been an important launching point for the rebels in their campaign to capture the Hama military airport. Its loss is a setback for Jabhat a-Nusra, which had sent 1,500 additional fighters to the area. At one point, there were rumors that Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani had personally led the attack from Halfaya.

After a series of opposition victories in August following the announcement of the campaign to take the airport, the regime has pushed back in Hama during last week, taking another rebel base Rahbat Khatab last Tuesday.

Hilfaya-return Halfaya residents return after Nusra withdraws from the city. Photo courtesy of @syriaassadgirl1.

Kurds bomb Ghweiran, expand territory in Al-Hasakah

The Kurdish PYD and regime forces heavily bombed the holdout neighborhood of Ghweiran in the capital of Al-Hasakah province Monday, according to pro-opposition news agency Sham News Network.

The PYD, which controls Al-Hasakah city along with regime forces, have been attempting to take the rebellious Ghweiran in an effort to consolidate its control over city.

The neighborhood, home to former FSA fighters, was hit by an intense combination of airstrikes, tank bombings and missile attacks, reported pro-opposition Siraj Press.

Elsewhere in Al-Hasakah, the PYD-affiliated Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured five towns from the Islamic State near the Syria and Iraq border Sunday, expanding its control in the eastern Syrian province, reported pro-opposition news Smart News Agency.

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