Rebels: Quneitra victory opens path to Ghouta
“The Chargers at Dawn” battle, which aims to capture several regime-controlled areas in Quneitra province and advance northeast into the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of West Ghouta, was announced by various FSA factions in a statement Thursday.
“If we win the points we’re trying to capture, the FSA will be in the proximity of West Ghouta,” Locka al-Zuabi, head of the Ababil Houran Battalions’ media office, told Syria Direct Thursday.
As of publishing, rebels had already taken control of several intended targets in Quneitra, including Tel Mheed and areas around the village of Majduliya, according to the battalions’ Facebook page.
For its part, pro-government daily Al-Watan reported Wednesday that “in the outskirts of Quneitra, army units targeted terrorist compounds…killing a number of them.”
“Chargers at Dawn” includes the Ababil Houran batallions, Fursan al-Ababil brigade, and other FSA outfits.
72-hour ceasefire in Darayya
The Syrian government and rebel fighters associated with the Free Syrian Army began a 72-hour ceasefire Thursday in the opposition-controlled city Darayya, temporarily stopping the regime siege on a key opposition stronghold near Damascus, reported pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan.
Darayya, located eight kilometers southwest of Damascus, sits next to the Mezzeh Military Airport, one of the largest in Syria, as well as the highways to Daraa and Quneitra.
The FSA, along with other Islamic militant groups, have controlled Darayya since mid-2013, but have constantly been surrounded by regime forces.
The local council of the city and the rebels agreed to the ceasefire as a prelude to further negotiations with the regime, according to pro-opposition news agency Smart News.
The ceasefire in Darayya comes in the wake of settlements in other rebel-controlled areas around Damascus such as Yarmouk Camp, where humanitarian aid was allowed to enter in exchange for the surrender of opposition soldiers.
Deadly airstrikes in Deir e-Zor
In an especially bloody two days, eight Syrians were killed Thursday and 15, including at least five children, on Wednesday in regime airstrikes on the largely IS-controlled province of Deir e-Zor, according to pro-opposition news agency Smart News.
The eight Syrians killed Thursday were hit by a regime aerial attack on the town of Asharah in southeastern Deir e-Zor, while Wednesday’s attack took the form of airstrikes on a bus travelling between Deir e-Zor and Damascus, reported pro-opposition news agency Eldorar.
Meanwhile, official state-media SANA contradicted the pro-opposition account of the attack on the bus Wednesday.
“Terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) committed a massacre in Deir e-Zor, murdering 15 civilians, most of them women and children.”
The reported regime airstrikes come on the heels of IS attacks on the Deir e-Zor Military Airport Wednesday, where IS has been amassing troops for over a week in an attempt to assault the regime base.
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