Syrian Revolution News Round- up / Day 654
The rebels made some of their biggest gains in the 21-month uprising as they took over a number of military posts in Aleppo, Idlib, Damascus, Raqa and Daraa in addition to shooting down five warplanes in five different areas across the country.
The rebels seized control of an air defence base in the town of Jabaadin in the Qalamon district of Damascus province while taking over one of the most heavily guarded military checkpoints in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani after 13 days of heavy fighting that resulted in the death of dozens of regime soldiers and the destruction of several military tanks and armoured vehicles.
In Aleppo, the rebels took control of the town of Zarbeh, the biggest town in the southern suburbs of Aleppo. They also took control of a base that belongs to the army’s 80th brigade near the Aleppo international airport which is also located few kilometres away from the Nerab airbase. The rebels kept pushing forward and gained new grounds in the police academy in the western suburb of Khan Asal and fought heavy battles with regime forces inside the airbases of Menneg and Quwayres where they destroyed a number of military tanks and killed many army soldiers.
The rebels also seized control of a number of military checkpoints in the Idlib suburb of Jesser Shughour as well as in the towns of Mharda and Janan in the suburbs of Hama. Moreover, they seized a strategic checkpoint in the Hasaka-Aleppo international road in the province of Raqa and stormed the 78th police station near the border with Jordan. Heavy fighting also continued in Homs, Qunaitera and other places across the country.
More high-profile defections took place today with General Ibrahim Kahlifa, Deputy Chief of Police and head of the Joint Security Commission of Inquiry in Hama as well as General Mohammad Ali Hassoun, head of the Assad Military Academy in Aleppo, both announced their defection to the rebels’ side. Meanwhile, the rebels said they detained the commander-in-chief of the Naseeb border post on the Daraa-Damascus international road near the Daraa suburb of Khirbet Ghazaleh.
The spokesperson of the Syrian National Coalition reassured the oppositions’ refusal to any peace settlement that doesn’t include Assad’s departure. This came in response to the UN-Arab League special peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brhaimi’s proposal of forming a new transitional government without stating whether Assad should stay in power or quit. Regime forces killed more than 119 people, including nine children, seven women and 49 rebel fighters. They shelled as many as 287 different locations across the country using all sort of heavy weaponry, including cluster, phosphorous, thermobaric and TNT bombs. Some 70 locations were shelled by mortar shells and 141 others were pounded by heavy artillery. More than 75 locations came under rocket shelling as fighter jets struck more than 26 locations and helicopter gunships dropped barrel bombs on 11 more. These attacks caused extensive damage to residential buildings and left dozens of people dead and wounded and sent thousands fleeing their homes.
Regime forces continued to target bakeries and infrastructure buildings. An air strike carried out by a fighter jet on a bakery in the Homs suburb of Ghanto killed ten civilians and wounded dozens more. Another airstrike targeted the premises of the governmental Water Corporation in the Deir Azzour suburb of Mayadin, causing extensive damage to the building and leaving many people dead and wounded.
More than 50 people were killed in Damascus and its suburbs today. The Palestinian refugee camps saw another violent day as heavy fighting and shelling renewed in the Yarmouk refugee camp where at least nine people died and many others got injured. Another car bomb blast rocket the mainly Palestinian town of Sbeneh, killing at least seven people and injuring dozens more. Dozens more people were killed as government forces continued to bombard the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiyat al-Sham, Mesraba, Daraya, Harasta, Irbin, Zabadani, Nabek and Shabaa. Some 26 people died in Idlib, half of whom were killed by regime shelling that targeted the towns of Bennesh and Ariha while the other half were killed during clashes in the Idlib suburb of Jesser Shughour. More than 19 people also died in Aleppo, at least six of whom were killed due the indiscriminate shelling in the neighbourhood of Shaar and the provincial town of Safeera. Another 15 people died in Hama, half of which were killed due to the violent shelling in the towns of Latamna, Kafarzeita and Morek.