Syrian Revolution News Round- up / Day 642 / Rebels seize the infantry academy in Aleppo

The rebels seized control of the infantry academy in the north eastern suburb of Aleppo after a fierce battle that left dozens of regime and rebel forces dead. The rebels detained 50 army soldiers and set 25 detainees free after carrying out sweeps in the 1800m academy which was turned into a military base. They also captured scores of military vehicles and big quantities of weapons and ammunition besides storming the arms depots in the nearby suburb of Khan Toman.

The rebels continued their attacks on the Menneg airbase in the suburb of Aleppo as well as on the Deir Azzour airbase in the east where they infiltrated its defence lines and secured the defection of 70 soldiers. Some 75 soldiers defected in the Idlib suburbs of Jesser Shughour and Jabal Zawiya as the rebels continued pushing into the west and the north of the province.

In Damascus, a group of Syrian and Palestinian rebels clashed with the pro-regime Palestinian Popular Front militia in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. Some 60 Palestinian militiamen defected to the rebels later as the head of the Palestinian front is said to have fled together with his son to the mainly Alawite province of Tartus in the west.

The rebels continued to thwart the regime’s attempt to enter the neighbourhood of Tariq al-Sad in the city of Daraa and attacked the military security branch in the neighbourhood of al-Mattar as well as many military checkpoints using rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells.

A group of defected Syrian officials announced in Amman the establishment of the new Free National Gathering aimed at protecting state institutions should the regime of Bashar al-Assad fall. The new gathering will be headed by the ex-Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab and will work within the framework of the Syrian National Coalition. Regime forces shelled as many as 256 different areas, using all sort of heavy weaponry including cluster and phosphorous bombs as well as barrel bombs. Some 94 areas were shelled by mortar shells and 94 others were pounded by heavy artillery. More than 60 areas came under rocket shelling as fighter jets bombarded more than 12 others, mainly in the suburbs of Damascus.

Regime forces killed at least 128 people, including six women, five children and 47 rebel fighters.

They killed at least 43 people in Damascus and its suburbs, most of which died due to the indiscriminate aerial, rocket and artillery shelling in the provincial towns of Moadamiyat al-Sham, Daraya, Bait Sahem, Erbin, Bibila, Bahariya and Deir Suleiman while four others were executed in the town of Qatana. Some 21 people were killed in Aleppo, ten of whom were shot dead by regime snipers deployed throughout the city while nine rebel fighters, including defected Colonel Yusuf Jadar, died as they carried out sweeps in the military academy in the Aleppo suburb of Musalamiya. Regime forces killed 20 people in Idlib, half of whom died during clashes that broke out in the suburbs of Idlib and Aleppo while 16 more died in Homs, nine of whom died in an airstrike launched by a fighter jet on the rebel-held town of Rastan. At least 12 people died in Daraa including seven rebel fighters while seven died in Deir Azzour and three more in Raqa.