Syrian Revolution News Round- up / Day 678 – Starting the Liberation of Idlib

Rebel fighters killed and injured a number of regime soldiers as they launched a major offensive on the north-western city of Idlib in a bid to take over their first major city in the country.

They stormed three military checkpoints in the western part of the city, bombarded the premises of the Popular Army with mortar shells and besieged the central prison. Meanwhile, they bombarded the bastions of the regime loyalist militias in the Shia villages of al-Foua and Kafriyain in the suburb of Idlib where they also stormed the defense lines of the Qarmid camp. 

Heavy fighting erupted in the southern suburbs of Homs where the rebels stormed the Um Sakher air defence base near the provincial town of Bowayda Sharqiya, destroying a military tank and capturing three anti-aircraft guns in addition to a big quantity of ammo. They also fired a number of missiles into the airbase of Daba’aa in the Homs suburb of Qusayr and repelled an attack carried out by pro-regime militias on the neighborhood of Jobar. In Hama, the rebels attacked three military checkpoints in the neighbourhood of Hader leaving a number of regime forces dead and wounded. Heavy clashes also continued throughout the suburbs of Daraa and Damascus where the rebels destroyed three military tanks and left many regime soldiers dead and wounded.

Regime forces carried out more than 20 air raids on civilian areas across the country, using cluster, phosphorus, therbombaric and explosive bombs, causing extensive material damage and leading to massacres in the suburbs of Homs, Damascus and Idlib.

The continued violence left at least 159 people dead today, with regime forces and militias killing at least 129 people, including 18 children and 16 women. Fighting also erupted on various fronts across the country, leaving at least 24 rebel fighters and 30 regime soldiers dead.Regime forces killed 54 people, including 11 children and five women in Damascus and its suburbs, 16 of whom died due to the indiscriminate shelling in the village of Barka as well as in the provincial towns of Daraya, Irbin, Moadamiyat al-Sham, Douma and Bowayda. Regime forces bombed the towns of Daraya and Saqba using Scud-type missiles for the first time.

They also killed 32 people in Homs, 16 of whom were killed due to the indiscriminate shelling in the village of Kafar’aya, while dozens others were also killed and injured due to the violent shelling in the neighborhoods of Jobar and Sultaniya as well as in the provincial town of Rastan and Ghanto.  Regime forces committed a massacre in the Idlib suburb of Ariha, killing at least nine people including five children and injuring dozens more amid suffocating siege and shortage of water, gas and electricity. Some eight people died and dozens more were injured in the Raqa suburb of Tabaqa, when regime warplanes bombarded a residential area with barrel bombs. Dozens more civilians and rebel fighters were killed and injured due to the heavy shelling and fighting that took place throughout Idlib, Daraa, Latakia, Deir Azzour and Hama.