LATEST: State Media — Two Suicide Car Bombs in Damascus
Spotlight: Civilians Evacuated From Moadamiyyat Ash Sham, Daraya br>
Video Analysis: As the US Steps Back, France and Saudi Arabia Step Up in Support of Insurgency br>
Political Round-Up: Assad Regime Tries to Reassure “More Money for Reconstruction”
SUMMARY: The past week has been the story of the race between two offensives in southern Syria. The regime is attempting to take over suburbs south and southwest of Damascus, thus opening the highway to Daraa Province and the border with Jordan to resupply its troops, before insurgents can seize more territory in the province, including in Daraa city.
On Saturday, as Syrian warplanes attacked insurgent positions in Daraa city — including the Palestinian refugee camp, the adjacent Al Mahata neighborhood, and Daraa Al Balad — there was a new, possibility significant development.
The Shaam News Network reported that insurgents in Al Mahata are using anti-aircraft weapons to target regime forces.
If the report is true, it could reflect a major escalation of arms supplies to opposition fighters — probably backed by Saudi Arabia and assisted by the insurgents’ recent takeover of the Daraa-Ramtha crossing on the Jordanian border.
Footage of the anti-aircraft weapons has yet to emerge; however, video testifies to a fresh supply of rocket launchers to the insurgents.
Latest Updates, Most Recent First
Convoy Of Insurgents From Liwa Sultan Mehmet Al Fatih Arrives In As-Safira, Aleppo
Footage posted on Sunday shows a convoy of insurgents from the Liwa Sultan Mehmet Al Fatih arriving in As Safira, Aleppo Province. The town has been subjected to fierce regime air strikes as regime forces attempt to control the town and a strategic road.
Children In Aleppo’s Salah Addin Neighborhood Play At Forming Insurgent Battalion
A glimpse at one way the ongoing conflict is affecting children in Syria: this group, from Aleppo’s opposition-controlled Salah Addin neighborhood are captured pretending to be an insurgent battalion and making a statement to camera:
State Media: Two Suicide Car Bombs in Damascus
State News agency SANA reports, “Two terrorist car bombs driven by suicide bombers detonated at the entrance of Ummayed Square,” in the center of Damascus on Sunday night.
The blasts were near the building of the State broadcaster. A TV reporter said a concrete barrier was damaged but the facility was largely intact. He said, “There were some human remains at the scene, likely those of a suicide bomber”.
SANA did not give word of any other casualties.
One of the bombs was captured on-air as a correspondent was reporting on political developments (0:30 mark in this clip):
Fatwa Allows Those Trapped In Damascus Yarmouk Camp To Eat Cats, Dogs, Donkeys
There are reports, including this by Orient News and here by LBCI, of a fatwa allowing people trapped by regime sieges in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus to eat the flesh of cats, dogs and mules during siege conditions..
The announcement comes as the humanitarian situation in the camp becomes increasingly desperate, with famine setting in.
Demonstration in Yarmouk after the fatwa:
Fierce Clashes In Daraa’s Al Mahata Neighborhood As Insurgents Shell Regime Checkpoint
Fighting continues on Sunday afternoon in the Al Mahata neighborhood of Daraa city. The Shaam News Network reports that there have been gun battles between insurgents and regime troops need the Hamidit Atahir checkpoint, after the Free Syrian Army shelled a regime checkpoint with artillery.
There are also claims that insurgents succeeded in bringing down a regime MiG jet in Daraa Al Balad:
Regime Shells Residential Areas Of Moadamiyyat Ash Sham
Regime artillery continued to shell residential areas of the West Ghouta town of Moadamiyyat Ash Sham on Sunday.
Footage of the shelling:
Earlier Sunday, the Syrian Red Crescent were able to evacuate about 1,500 civilians — mostly women and children — from Moadamiyyat Ash Sham and from neighboring Daraya.
Activists: Insurgents Blow Up Sufi Shrine in Eastern Syria
Opposition activists said insurgents blew up a Sufi Muslim shrine n Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria on Sunday.
The sources said the insurgents placed explosives at the shrine of Sheikh Eissa Abdelqader al-Rifaiy in the opposition-held town of Busaira, 45 kilmeters (30 miles) east of Deir Ez Zor city.
The activistssaid they suspected fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
“Gunmen” Kidnap seven Red Cross Workers In Idlib Province
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed on Sunday that armed men have kidnapped six Red Cross workers and a local worker from the Syrian Red Crescent in Idlib Province. ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson told Reuters that the team had been on its way back to Damascus after delivering medical supplies in Sarmin and Idlib.
Watson added that the ICRC was “calling for the immediate and unconditional release of this team which was delivering humanitarian assistance to those most in need – and we do that on both sides of the frontlines.”
Watson did not reveal the nationalities or genders of the kidnapped aid workers.
Syrian Red Crescent Evacuates Civilians From Moadamiyyat Ash Sham, Daraya
The Syrian Red Crescent on Sunday announced that it had evacuated civilians from Moadamiyyat Ash Sham, the West Ghouta town hit by one of the August 21 chemical weapons attacks, and which has been under a regime-imposed siege since November 2012.
— Syrian Red Crescent (@SYRedCrescent) October 12, 2013
Regime Targets Vegetable Market in Al Mahata, Daraa City
Reports from the Shaam News Network say that regime tanks are shelling the vegetable market in the Al Mahata neighborhood of Daraa City.
On Saturday, regime airstrikes pounded Al Mahata, the neighboring Palestinian camp and Daraa Al Balad in the south of the city.
Footage from Saturday of a woman crying after her children were killed in the airstrikes:
The Local Coordination Committees claim 106 people were killed on Saturday, including 28 in Damascus and its suburbs, 23 in Aleppo Province, 22 in Daraa Province, and 16 in Idlib Province.
The Violations Documentation Center records that 75,654 people have been killed since March 2011. Of the dead, 56,437 are civilians.