Syria Today: The War on the Economy / FIGHTING IN KURDISH SHEIKH MAQSOUD

Published on June 20th, 2013 | by Joanna Paraszczuk (EA)

LATEST — France: More Talks With Insurgents Before We Supply Arms

Another sign on Wednesday of the economic pressure on the Assad regime, as Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi pronounced “that the government has taken a number of measures to confront the unfair economic, media sanctions which target the national economy structure and the Syrian state, calling on the Syrian people and government to face this unjust war”.

The statement was the second in three days by al-Halqi, who insisted earlier this week that the Government had sufficient reserves to provide for the Syrian people, following a 25% fall in the currency in 24 hours.

The Syrian regime is subject to a sweeping range of sanctions, led by the US and European powers, trying to limit its trade, financial sector, and resources. This week, Iran and Syria agreed on a $3.5 billion line of credit and assistance with energy and infrastructure projects to help sustain the economy.“The government works on all levels to confront the aggression against the Syrians by mercenary terrorists who are backed by some international and regional powers,” al-Halqi said during a meeting with representatives of firms in Aleppo — Syria’s largest city which has been split between the regime and insurgents since July 2012.

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

France: More Talks With Insurgents Before We Supply Arms


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has damped down talk of overt supply of arms to insurgents, “As far as weapons go, there is no question of delivering weapons in conditions that we aren’t sure about and that means we won’t deliver weapons so that they are turned against us.”

Fabius continued, “It’s one of the reasons why we need more consultations with General Salim Idriss who is the commander on the ground.”Last week, at a meeting of the “Friends of Syria” international coalition in Ankara last week, diplomats and intelligence officers discussed insurgents’ needs — including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons — with General Salem Idriss, the head of the opposition’s Joint Military Command. Ministers of the Friends of Syria countries convene in Qatar this week.

Footage: Insurgents Use Home-Made Rockets In Midan District, Aleppo

Footage of insurgents from the Gharba As-Sham Front in Aleppo using homemade rockets on Thursday to shell regime forces in the Midan Neighborhood.This video, slightly different, notes that the rockets are home-made.

Footage: Fighting In Sheikh Maqsoud District, Aleppo

This video shows clashes between insurgents and regime forces in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood on Thursday afternoon as part of Operation Hurricane of the North, an offensive against Assad’s forces in the city and its surroundings. The neighborhood, a residential area, appears empty of civilians. Insurgents on Wednesday warned residents of regime-controlled areas to leave ahead of the offensive.

Map Of Sheikh Maqsoud: View Map – Click Link at the bottom

Footage: Statement By FSA Ahead Of Aleppo Offensive, Operation Hurricane North

The video below shows a statement by Free Syrian Army insurgents on Wednesday announcing the start of an offensive — Operation Hurricane North — “to liberate Aleppo from the brutal oppression of the regime and the Party of Satan and the Safavid militias [the insurgent name for Hezbollah.]

The statement lists the insurgent factions who will take part in the offensive, including: Al-Majd Brigade, Brigade of Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror, Seljuk Brigades, Falcons of Islam Brigade, Dara Souriya Brigade, Mujaheddin Brigade.

The FSA warned civilians in areas of Aleppo controlled by the Syrian regime that there would be clashes, and urged them to leave the area so that regime forces would not use them as human shields.

A full list of the factions, in Arabic, is given below:



وأمامنجهةالصاخورفستشارككتائبغرباءالشام،ولواءالرسالةولواءأحرارالصاخوروكتائبالنصر،ولواءدرعسوريةولواءالمجاهدين .


Russian FM: If West Arms Insurgents, Weapons Will Fall Into Hands Of Jabhat al-Nusra

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Thursday that if the US and Europe supplies arms to Syrian insurgents, those weapons will find their way to Islamist insurgent group Jabhat al-Nusra.“Jabhat al-Nusra is the most effective functioning structure of the armed opposition, and I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of weapons that have already ended up in Syria, as well as those [weapons] that will end up in Syria, will be distributed via that structure,” Lavrov said, according to RIA Novosti.

Lavrov added: “[Jabhat al-Nusra] is the most coordinated, the most disciplined and our colleagues understand that.”

The Foreign Minister noted that the Syrian government had told Moscow that it would “support the outcomes of the G8 and emphasized its readiness to participate in the [international peace] conference.”“So far, we just don’t know who will convince the opposition to do the same,” Lavrov added.

Insurgents Try to Cut Regime Access to Major Highway In North

Insurgents attacked a main highway in northern Syria on Wednesday, trying to cut off a major supply line for regime forces in the region.

Opposition fighters claimed that they had taken three checkpoints on the Ariha-Latakia stretch of an international highway that goes through Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, to the Turkish border. They say they needed to capture three more to cut off the Syrian military’s access to the M5 highway.“This is a very important battle in our move to put a stranglehold on regime supply lines from its stronghold on the coast into the north, particularly to Idlib city, which is one of the regime’s last footholds in Idlib province,” said insurgent spokesman Mohammed Fizo.

“The regime is responding by shelling the highway and sending fighter jets to bomb nearby villages,” he said.