Rebel fighters brace for a decisive battle

Syrian Revolution News Round- up / Day 505 – Various rebel groups in Aleppo announced their unification under the Al-Fateh Brigade in preparation for a decisive battle with regime forces. Despite the regime’s continual addition of military reinforcements to Aleppo, it has so far failed to enter the rebel-held neighbourhoods of Saladin and Zahra since the assault began 12 days ago. Rebels held their ground and advanced to seize control of additional police stations, arresting scores of security forces, some of whom later joined the rebels. Regime forces continued shelling the neighbourhoods of Marjeh, Bab Neirab, Ansari, Sakhour and the provincial towns of Atareb and Abzemo using military tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships.

In Damascus, regime troops and tanks raided the neighbourhoods of Jobar and Tadmon, carried out sweeps in the neighbourhoods of Qadam, Yarmouk refugee camp and Hajar Aswad and the provincial town of Yalda, while helicopter gunships shelled the provincial towns of Qarra, Zabdin, Hutaytet Jarash, Deir Asafir, Madaya, Hamouriya, Zamalka and Hazeh.

Today’s death toll was among the lowest in months. This could be due in part to the regime’s halt in operations in several areas as troops moved north toward Aleppo to join the looming, decisive battle with rebel fighters there. Despite the lower death toll today, there has been a sharp escalation in regime attacks in the Damascus suburbs.

Regime forces killed more than 85 people today. Some 20 died in Aleppo province and 15 in Homs. Twelve more were killed in Idlib province and nine in Daraa. Seven died in the province of Deir Azzour, while seven more were killed in Damascus province. Score of army soldiers were killed during heavy clashes with the rebel fighters in several towns and neighborhoods throughout the country.

Regime forces continued attacks on the neighbourhood of Old City and Arab Spring in Homs and its provincial towns of Qasir, Talkalakh, Rastan and Houleh, in the Idlib suburbs of Habitt, Zakourin and Ariha, in several neighbourhoods in the city of Deir Azzour and its provincial towns of Hassan and Safira, in the city of Daraa and the villages of Ghonaima and Marounyat in the province of Latakia. It carried out sweeps in the village of Basiya in the province of Tartus and the neighbourhood of Mashaa Forousiya and the village of Janan in Hama province.

More than 50 soldiers defected to the opposition in the province of Deir Azzour, followed by heavy clashes with regime forces.