CLUSTER BOMBS: The Syrian air force targeted the areas surrounding Division 17 in A-Raqqa province Thursday, one day after a number of battalions broke into the division, one of the Syrian army’s last remaining outposts in the rebel-controlled province.
“The air force conducted several air raids on Division-17 and its surroundings,” the opposition’s Local Coordination Committee reported on Thursday.
Rebel groups are fighting to gain control of the al-Agrar Battalion, a part of the division made up of soldiers new to Assad’s forces. “If they liberate that, the rebels will separate the officers’ barracks from the division headquarters,” Mohammed Abu Qasim, a spokesman from the a-Raqqa Media Center, told Syria Direct.
Wednesday’s push was the third time in the ten-month siege on Division 17, which lies two kilometers outside A-Raqqa city, that rebel groups were able to break into it. A video posted online last month showed rebel fighters jubilantly opening a package of food and supplies the Syrian air force had intended to drop into the isolated base.
With the exception of regime installations at Division 17 and the Tabaka Military Base, A-Raqqa is the first fully opposition-controlled province.
The province has increasingly become a center of internecine violence between insurgent extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Sham and the Kurdish group PYG. A Kurdish Rights Website reported clashes between Kurdish forces and ISIS in the region earlier this week.