News in Images

  • Deire-Zor9911

    NOWHERE TO GO: Activists in Deir e-Zor launched a campaign this week to draw attention to a months-long siege and heavy regime bombing on different parts of the city, as residents find themselves caught between regime and Islamic State forces battling for control of the provincial capital.

    “More than 300,000 civilians live in suffering from a [IS] blockade on [regime-controlled parts of] the city, preventing the entrance of food and medicine,” Jalal Ahmed, a spokesperson for the “Together Let’s Lift the Siege on Deir e-Zor,” told Syria Direct on Thursday.

    IS fighters have encircled the regime-held areas of Deir e-Zor city for more than 70 days, reported pro-opposition news outlet All4Syria on Thursday.

    “The Syrian government holds 35 percent of Deir e-Zor city, and about 20 percent of the province,” Mohammed Hasan, a pro-opposition activist, told Syria Direct on Thursday.

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  • BusraA-Sham22

    BOWING OUT: A coalition of rebel groups captured the regime stronghold of Busra a-Sham in southeastern Daraa province on Tuesday, allowing rebels to cut regime supply routes running between the provinces of Daraa and Suwayda.

    The mixed Sunni-Shi’ite town—a UNESCO world heritage site—was the regime’s largest stronghold in southeastern Daraa.

    The regime’s garrison in the town was reinforced by Shiite militias, fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and National Defense Forces. Pictures posted from rebel Twitter accounts show rebels posing with a captured Hezbollah flag.

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  • Kids IS

    FOREIGN CURRENCY: Foreign fighters and their families living in the Islamic State’s (IS) capital city of A-Raqqa have come to enjoy privileges not afforded to Syrians living under their rule, according to a report released Monday by the pro-opposition media campaign A-Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered.

    “IS hasn’t been able to drum up much support among locals, so they compensate by securing the loyalty of foreigners who choose to live under their control,” Azuz al-Hamza, deputy director of Ar-Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

    “They do this through financial benefits, among them providing foreign fighters and their families with the nicest homes in the city, many of which used to belong to rich residents that fled the city because they refused to pledge allegiance to IS,” he said.

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  • ALeppoPilot

    PANIC ROOM: A well-known regime officer was captured by Jabhat a-Nusra (JAN) in the Jabal al-Zawia region of southern Idlib Sunday night after a helicopter he was flying crashed in unclear circumstances, reported the pro-opposition al-Hal al-Suri news outlet on Monday.

    According to local activists, the officer, seen here in a screen shot from a video posted late Sunday night shows Yousef al-Najar in the custody of a Jabhat a-Nusra commander and sharia scholar who goes by the name Abd al-Mohaisani.

    Yousef al-Najar was forcibly captured from Firqa 101’s custody by JAN fighters operating in the area, reported the pro-opposition Murasil al-Suri on Monday.

    The officer is from the west Homs countryside and gained notoriety in the early days of the Syrian uprising for commanding various pro-regime forces in the city of Homs, reported the pro-opposition Halab News Outlet on Sunday.

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  • AssadWife

    NO REASON TO CELEBRATE: Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, met with the mothers of wounded Syrian army soldiers at an undisclosed location on Saturday in celebration of Mother’s Day, according to pictures posted to the official Facebook page of the Office of the Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic that night.

    Al-Assad was quoted as telling the mothers, “you all have raised heroes who never surrendered, neither on the battlefield nor in life.”

    5,280 mothers have been killed in Syria and another 190 arrested by the regime since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, according to a report released Saturday by the pro-opposition Syrian Network for Human Rights. SN4HR added that 68,000 women in Syria had lost their husbands and become widows, and that 18,572 children had been killed.

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  • ChildrenKiller

    PEACE OUT: Several hundred civilians launched a peaceful protest on Wednesday against the Syrian regime in Douma, the political capital of Syria’s armed opposition in East Ghouta, in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the country’s uprising.

    “The purpose of reverting back to peaceful protests is to expose the lies being told by regime media outlets which claim that all those who oppose Assad are terrorists,” Abu Amad al-Munashid, of the organizers of the protest told Syria Direct on Thursday.

    “The protest was not organized or attended by members of any armed groups operating in the area.”

    “Protestors gathered in the same square they had four years ago when the revolution first began,” Elias al-Hajiri, a civil activist in Douma, told Syria Direct on Thursday. “They wanted to send a message that they’re still here despite the destruction they’ve witnessed.”

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  • CivilMilitary

    GO LOCAL: Civil and military opposition forces in the regime stronghold of Latakia announced the formation of a ruling council on Tuesday intending to govern disparate rebel-held towns in the coastal province.

    The Latakia Shura Council “is the first committee of its kind that unites all civil and military opposition forces in Latakia,” Ahmed Bakri, a citizen journalist based in the Latakia countryside told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

    “The goal is to hold elections for local administrative councils that have pledged allegiance to the council that cooperate with armed brigades operating on the ground,” Bakri said.

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  • Darayya31

    GHOST TOWN: The regime pounded the town of Darayya in the Damascus suburb of West Ghouta southwest of the capital with 11 barrel bombs on Monday, reported the opposition Darayya City Council on its Facebook page. 

    “The regime has suffered heavy losses against local Free Syrian Army (FSA) units during its many attempts to enter Darayya, and is employing a scorched-earth policy to try to subdue it,” Ahmed Quraytam, a member of the Darayya City Council, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

    Darayya has been under regime siege for nearly a year, however had been receiving food and medical supplies from the nearby town of Muadamyyat al-Sham to the west,” Quraytam said.

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  • DoumaRevolution

    MARKING THE DAY: The regime pounded the opposition-controlled city of Douma with at least six airstrikes on Monday on the heels of an escalated aerial attack that killed dozens of civilians the day before, reported Douma’s Local Coordination Committee.

    Sunday's attacks came on the fourth year anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian conflict. 

    “The bombings began at 8am [on Sunday] with the regime targeting places where civilians would be in the early morning hours,” Abdul Haq Hmmam, an activist in Douma, told Syria Direct on Monday.

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  • FSADefection

    CHANGING LOYALTIES: Ten members of the Sham al-Rasul Brigade, a unit within the Free Syrian Army (FSA), were arrested by their commanders in the village of Beit Sahem in southern Damascus on Saturday while attempting to defect to the regime, Mahmoud Amr, a media activist in Beit Sahem told Syria Direct on Sunday.

    The arrests come in the wake of what appears to be a wave of FSA defections to the regime in southern Damascus over the past week.

    The fighters were described as an “armed cell that sought to flee the village and give themselves over to Assad,” according to a description posted alongside a picture of the group on Sham al-Rusul’s official Facebook page Saturday.  

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Reports

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Rebels launch full-on assault of Idlib city

March 25, 2015 By Dan Wilkofsky and Ammar Hamou The battle for Idlib city continued for the second day Wednesday as rebels seek to capture the largest remaining regime-controlled city in the... Read more

How the Islamic State uses women to control women

March 25, 2015 The Islamic State's all-female Khansaa Brigade, formed in early 2014 and charged with policing the public morality of women in A-Raqqa city, has captured the attention of the... Read more

Jabhat a-Nusra, FSA, seek to break regime cordon in Homs

March 19, 2015 By Osama Abu Zeid and Brent Eng AMMAN: Jabhat a-Nusra reportedly won control of two villages and an air base from regime forces in east Hama province on Wednesday... Read more

Islamic State one step closer to regime gas fields

March 18, 2015 By Osama Abu Zeid and Brent Eng AMMAN: The Islamic State reportedly captured several key points around a regime-controlled city in east Homs province near the historical ruins of... Read more

IS buildup near Lebanon border suggests future incursion

March 17, 2015 By Osama Abu Zeid and Dan Wilkofsky AMMAN: The Islamic State has been building up its presence in the western Qalamoun Mountains considerably over the past several months, provoking... Read more

Regime forces edge toward Latakia’s Jabal al-Akrad

March 12, 2015 By Batool Hajjar, Noura al-Hourani, and Dan Wilkofsky AMMAN: Several opposition brigades reportedly drove regime forces out of the village of Durein and its neighboring hill in the northern... Read more

Interviews

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Busra a-Sham LCC: With historic city encircled, ‘retreat was not an option’

March 26, 2015 The al-Jaish al-Awal rebel coalition captured the regime stronghold of Busra a-Sham in southeastern Daraa province on Tuesday, cutting off supply routes running... Read more

YPG hopes to ‘change the demographic map’ in Al-Hasakah

March 24, 2015 Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG] reportedly burned at least five Arab-majority villages in the rural heart of Al-Hasakah province earlier this week after... Read more

Jaish al-Islam spokesperson: ‘We represent the biggest threat to IS’

March 23, 2015 Earlier this month, the Zahran Aloush-led opposition group Jaish al-Islam announced the formation of Ali bin Abi Talib, a brigade specially trained to... Read more

Hepatitis A spreading in south Damascus amidst poor living conditions

March 19, 2015 Hepatitis A has begun to spread in opposition-controlled areas of southern Damascus, with local medical organizations recording two deaths and 250 cases of... Read more

Sununu magazine 'strives to fill a child's emptiness'

March 18, 2015 As of December 2014, more than five and a half million children living inside Syria were in need of direct humanitarian aid, according... Read more

Idlib Druze agree to forced conversion, destroyed shrines under Nusra rule

March 17, 2015 The Jabal al-Summaq region in the Idlib province’s northern countryside is home to nearly 18,000 Druze spread out amongst 18 villages, all of... Read more

News Roundup

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Syria Direct: News Update 3-26-15

Rebels reportedly tighten siege around Idlib city The rebel coalition 'Victory Army' continued its assault on regime-controlled Idlib city for the third consecutive day Thursday, after... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 3-25-15

IS seeks to isolate Turkish border crossing The Islamic State [IS] attacked a YPG-controlled town in Al-Hasakah province on Tuesday, as it seeks to isolate the... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 3-24-15

Jabhat a-Nusra drives suicide van into Aleppo village Jabhat a-Nusra attacked a village northeast of Aleppo with a vehicle-born suicide bombing on Monday in an... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 3-23-15

Activists accuse YPG of burning more Arab villages Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG] reportedly burned a number of YPG-controlled Arab villages in the rural heart... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 3-19-15

Major aid convoy allowed into southern Damascus The regime allowed a major aid convoy carrying tons of vital foodstuffs to enter an FSA-governed area of southern... Read more

Syria Direct: News update 3-18-15

Regime claims capture of gateway into Aleppo Pro-regime media is reporting that the Syrian army reportedly won control of Handarat from the opposition after launching an... Read more