By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)
3 days of fighting around Deir El-Zour airport has left numerous dead on both sides.
Fighting Near Deir El-Zour Airport
According to latest reports, most of the fighting is near the pro-regime village of Jafra, control of which would put the Opposition fighters within a few hundred metres of the airport’s main gate.
A hold over parts of Jafra has swung back and forth between the 2 sides, with activist sources saying that at least 19 Opposition fighters were killed over the weekend. Some of the latest action can be seen on video, HERE:
Assad’s regular Army is backed by auxiliaries from the National Defence Force (NDF). A longer Opposition video of earlier fighting can be seen, HERE:
Other video on the Internet is showing a convoy of Islamist reinforcements on their way to join the battle to overrun the airport.
TOTAL CONFIRMED DEAD PASSES 500 MARK IN ASSAD’S 2 WEEK BARREL-BOMB ATTACK ON ALEPPO:
According to information compiled by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London, the Syrian regime’s barrel-bomb attacks on Aleppo since December 15th have now killed at least 517 people. including 151 children and 46 women.
Some activist sources put the unconfirmed death toll even higher at 650. While the vast majority of those killed are civilians, at least 34 of the recorded deaths are of Opposition fighters, plus another 12 Jihadists.
Searching for Survivors in Aleppo After Assad Attack
The latest major attack came on Saturday when one of the notoriously inaccurate barrel-bombs struck a vegetable market in the Tariq al-Bab district of Aleppo, killing 25 including 2 women, 4 children, 2 teenagers and an Opposition media activist. Caution, disturbing video of the market attack,HERE:
Another barrel-bomb fell not far from a hospital. As well as petrol or oil, nails and other metal fragments, the crude bombs contain 150 kilos upwards of TNT. The BBC has a video report on the situation, HERE:
In the northern Aleppo countryside, regime aircraft are reported to have bombed the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing area twice in the last few days, HERE: The border crossing is currently controlled by Jihadists, but has been closed from the Turkish side by the authorities there.
MORE PALESTINIANS DIE OF HUNGER AND THIRST IN BESIEGED CAMP IN SOUTHERN DAMASCUS, WHILE SOME FOOD ENTERS MOADAMIYAH:
As many as 15 people have now died from hunger and dehydration in the Opposition-held Palestinian Refugee Camp of Yarmouk in southern Damascus.
5, including an elderly man, a woman and a disabled man, died over this last weekend, adding to an exist toll of 10 already dead (EDITOR: While a large part of the world feasted and celebrated Christmas).
The Assad regime has not allowed food into the camp since September and long ago cut off the water supply, trying to use starvation as a weapon so that desperate residents will drive out Opposition fighters.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees and several human rights groups have called on the Syrian Government to allow them to ferry in supplies, but to no avail. As well as the cold, the Palestinians are unable to shower because of the lack of water and now some are suffering from scabies.
In the nearby similarly besieged suburb of Moadamiyah, a truce agreed with the Assad regime (scroll down – see earlier report below), finally allowed several trucks containing food to enter the district on Saturday afternoon.
Before Dying This Boy Said “I Will Tell God All That Happened”
The trucks contained bread, sugar and basic canned foods, but according to activists the amount sent would normally only provide half a day’s supply for the estimated 8,000 fighters and residents still in the suburb.
Qusai Zakarya, an activist inside Moadamiyah, said residents would continue to severely ration the canned goods as well as continue to eat plants to survive. He also insisted that they were not close to surrendering.
“Over 90 percent of the rebels in the area are young men from Moadamiyah. They are part of the neighbourhood, so although everybody is frustrated there will be no surrender,”
More supplies may be allowed in through Government checkpoints in the coming days apparently if fighters give up some of their armoured vehicles.
However, local people remain wary of the Assad regime’s intentions after soldiers failed to keep to their side of the bargain by trying to storm the town on Saturday, just a few hours before the food convoy arrived.
Troops attempted to enter Moadamiyah from the north and east, sparking a six-hour clash with Opposition fighters, who eventually repelled the advance. “Nobody trusts the regime to provide enough food,” said Zakarya. “They often change their plans and the people here are just frustrated and hungry.”
In the Qalamoun region of Damascus province, the Syrian Government claims to have killed as many as 60 opposition fighters in a dawn ambush between the villages of Marah and Qustul and not far from the historic Christian town of Ma’aloula. Another 20 fighters were reported wounded.
Airstrikes were also carried out on the outskirts of Yabroud where Jihadists are believed to be holding 12 nuns detained at a convent in Ma’aloula. Opposition fighters however, successfully destroyed this Syrian Army tank with a guided missile, HERE:
On Friday the Syrian Army pounded the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma with shells destroying residential building and also claimed that on Sunday it had evacuated 5,000 civilians from Adra, to the north-east of the capital.
Heavy fighting between Government troops and Opposition fighters has been reported in and around Adra since December 11th. Government sources claimed that Jihadists had “massacred” Alawite civilians in the town, but this has not been verified.
This video from Assad’s NDF shows Syrian Army tanks indiscriminately shelling residential buildings in the town,HERE:
In the far south of Syria, Government airstrikes have hit the Jihadist controlled border crossing into Jordan at Nasseb and this video shows the destruction now evident in the Ataman district of the northern part of Deraa city,HERE:
JIHADISTS TAKE UMBRAGE AT KAFRANBEL’S TO THE POINT STATEMENTS AND ATTACK THEIR MEDIA FACILITIES:
In Idlib province, Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) invaded several media facilities on Saturday evening in the Opposition-held town of Kafranbel, which has become with its banners one of the symbols of the anti-Assad uprising.
ISIL targeted an Opposition radio station in the town and a media centre next door, confiscating or destroying computers, cameras, radio and Internet equipment and pro-uprising banners stored at the media centre.
6 media workers were at first detained but were released again after being held for 2 hours. The raid came just a short time after the radio station, Radio Fresh, broadcast a programme that featured interviews with several women discussing their personal lives and problems as divorcees.
The Jihadists had also taken exception to political cartoons showing them stabbing the Free Syrian Army (FSA) “in the back” as it struggled to fight Assad.
Christmas Greetings From Pithy Kafranbel
ISIL is also reported to have taken over a FSA weapons store in the town containing anti-aircraft guns, leaving the town vulnerable to Government air attacks. Negotiations are underway to get the weapons back.
In Ma’arat Al-Numan, demonstrations in the town against ISIL, also led to the release of Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Saoud, the leader of the FSA’s 13th Brigade, whom the Jihadists had “arrested” at the beginning of December.
In London, a coroner’s inquest on the death of Dr. Abbas Khan, a British national who was found hanging in his cell in Damascus just days before his planned release (scroll down – see below), was opened and adjourned on Friday after police reports.
A CT scan has has been carried out on the body and British doctors have completed a postmortem, but they are still waiting on toxology tests before an exact cause and time of death can be concluded. Dr. Khan’s body was released for burial last Thursday.
Lastly, in what be an over-optimistic evaluation, an article at EAWorldView suggests that Hezbollah, with reported deaths of 300+ fighters in Syria, may have over-extended itself – We can but hope!
With luck and attrition they will be forced to withdraw and the Assad regime will collapse along with it. You can read more, HERE: