By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2)
Has Assad’s military overstretched itself? Despite taking Qusair away from the Opposition, since then Assad’s army has launched a major offensive into Homs city but at the same time also attempted to break through to Aleppo and drive Opposition fighters out of Damascus.
Despite reinforcements from Hezbollah and Iranian advisers, this all may be a step too far, too soon.
Assad Military Casualties Growing by the Day
A report from Tartous today says that a total of 374 dead or injured regime troops have been taken to the regime military’s Basel Al-Assad Hospital there after being killed or injured in fighting against FSA forces in Homs.
Elizabeth O’Bagy, an anlayst for the Institute for the Study of War, says:
“Consecutive large-scale offensives remain difficult for the Syrian government, and the rush to Aleppo was premature. Given the distribution of its resources and the forces required to conduct major offensives at this point, it also remains difficult for the Syrian government to conduct simultaneous large-scale offensives.
Although the Syrian government has been able to maintain its current level of operations in Aleppo, it has been unable to launch a major offensive against the city while simultaneously conducting an offensive in Homs. Assad’s forces are too limited to conduct decisive operations in multiple fronts simultaneously, and once they move on from one location, they risk losing it again”.
(EDITOR: My thanks to EAWorldView for this quote
Lose territory, is just what appears to have happened in Damascus where the Government has been trying to launch yet another major offensive, pushing its way, after a rocket and artillery blitz, into Qaboun and other Sunni suburbs.
Latest reports from Darraya, a suburb that has held out against Assad’s forces for more than 10 months, suggest that over the last 2 days Opposition fighters have fought fiercely to retake a large residential area they had lost earlier.
The retaken territory includes over 30 strategic buildings overlooking the industrial zone near Abu Suleima Addarani Mosque. Opposition fighters say that they killed many regime soldiers and captured lots of ammunition and weapons including a wire-guided missile.
Activists also say that the Opposition has managed to bring in reinforcements into the Damascus area to help resist the Assad Army advance.
Elsewhere in Damascus the Opposition were reported this morning, Wednesday, to be bombarding Damascus International Airport again with Grad missiles and to have killed 10 members of the pro-regime Abu Al-Fadi Al-Abbas Brigade and Hezbollah in fighting around the Sayeda Zeinab shrine.
A car bomb exploding near the Amari Mosque in Kanaker, north of Damascus this morning is reported to have killed 3 people, including a father and his son, and wounded 10 others.
6 MEN MEDIATING BETWEEN SUNNIS AND ALAWITES IN HOMS, EXECUTED BY ASSAD SHABIHA:
In Homs province, Rastan, which has been under attack for more than a year, is once again suffering brutal bombardment, residents reporting the shaking of buildings and brave medics trying to cope with the injuries without the benefit of decent medical supplies.
Battles Continue Across Homs Province
Little news from Homs city at the moment, though it is safe to presume that regime attacks are ongoing.
However, 6 men who were trying to mediate between Alawite and Shia communities, were reported killed by pro-Assad Shabiha near the Alawite village of Hajar al-Abyad, a Government stronghold.
The men, including 2 retired military men and an Imam, were trying to set up talks between the 2 sides after fighting errupted in the area last week. The Shabiha accused them of secretly working for the Opposition.
In Aleppo, where the Opposition continue to control entry and exit to the western Government held suburbs of Syria’s largest city, food supplies are once again flowing across the central crossing between the two distinct sides in Bustan Al Qasser, known to local people as the “crossing of death”.
The crossing is busy and vital to the local economy but every now and again regime sniper fire rings out and someone falls dead. An excellent article on the crossing, which criticises both sides, isHERE:
And the BBC has a video report, HERE:
Video has also emerged of the Tawheed Brigade using sniper fire in their siege and attack on the Alawite enclave of Nubl, HERE:
KURDISH MILITIA HAS HAD ENOUGH OF ISLAMISTS IN HASAKA AND DRIVES THEM OUT OF BORDER TOWN:
In Deraa province Opposition fighters have captured a major checkpoint and a tank at Nawa,HERE: though the Government has since retaliated with an airstrike, killing a small boy.
In the Idlib countryside the Opposition have also made progress storming the Maarbalet Military checkpoint near the “Brick Factory”, HERE:
While in Hasaka to the north at Ras Al-Ain near the Turkish border, following several days of fighting the Kurdish militia, the YPG, is reported to have driven out the Islamist groups, the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, killing 9 of the Jihadists while losing 1 of their own.
Fighting has started when the Al-Nusra Front stopped a YPG patrol and kidnapped one of their fighters. The YPG has since vowed to clear out the Islamists from all the surrounding villages. Unfortunately the fighting spilled across the Turkish border killing a Turkish man and a teenager with random gunfire on Tuesday.
The Turkish Army is reported to have retaliated against stray shots this morning by firing 14 rounds back across the border.
In Lebanon a prominent Syrian political analyst, Mohammed Darrar Jammo, was assassinated in the early hours of this morning, by unknown gunmen who cut him down near his house in the Bekaa valley. Jammo often appeared on TV stations throughout the Middle East in support of Assad and his regime.
A roadside bomb is also reported to have severely injured 2 men in a Hezbollah SUV convoy that was heading for Syria on Tuesday, the men being removed to the Hezbollah hospital in Beirut.
Wounded Syrians “Kicked Out” of Hospital in Lebanon
According to other reports, the Minieh hospital in north Lebanon was less helpful, “kicking-out” 28 Syrians because, they claimed, their fees had not been paid.
The 28 men, who had been wounded in the fighting around Qusair, were not allowed to take any personal belongings with them or even X-rays or splints for fractures.
Some of the men were left by the roadside for 2 hours in high temperatures before being collected by the Red Cross and transferred to another medical facility.
Internationally, the UK has gifted 5,000 anti-chemical weapon kits, including “escape hoods, nerve-agent pre-treatment tablets and chemical-weapon detection paper to the Syrian National Council (SNC), and Irleland has agreed to supply troops to man the UN “peacekeeping force” in the Golan Heights, subject to parliamentary approval.
Commenting on the worsening crisis in Syria the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guerres, said that this was the worst situation since the genocide in Rwanda nearly 20 years ago, with 6,000 people fleeing Syria every day and 5,000 a month being killed. Al Jazeera has a video report, HERE:
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