Syria Daily, Mar 29: Insurgents Advance in Latakia Offensive

Scott Lucas
By Scott Lucas March 29, 2014 07:18 Updated

Syria Daily, Mar 29: Insurgents Advance in Latakia Offensive

Story Highlights

  • Insurgents take Nab'ain, southwest of Kassab
  • Regime convoys of reinforcements hit

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LATEST: Islamic State of Iraq Claims Capture of Oil Well & Gas Well in Eastern Syria

SATURDAY FEATURES

Insurgents made further gains on the 8th day of their offensive in Latakia Province in western Syria.

Opposition fighters consolidated control of Nab’ain, 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of Kassab, the village on the Turkish border taken at the start of the offensive.

Opposition reinforcements from the Al-Aqsa Brigade:

Insurgents also inflicted casualties on regime forces as they tried to send in reinforcements for counter-attacks, not only striking convoys near Nab’ain but also cutting down Syrian troops and militias in Idlib Province.

An attacked convoy near Nab’ain:

Syrian State news agency SANA’s mention of the Latakia fighting is this vague note: “A military source (said) that the army units targeted terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Solas village, Bab al-Amaniyeh, the area surrounding Point 45, Kassab and near al-Samra village, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.”

Footage of a MiG-29 over Latakia Province:

The site also features a visit by Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar to injured Syrian troops and militia.

MINISTER LATAKIA INJURED


Islamic State of Iraq Claims Capture of Oil Well & Gas Well in Eastern Syria

The Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham claims it has captured an oil well and a gas well from the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria.

ISIS said it re-took the Kunayk gas well and Jifra oil well after Jabhat al-Nusra had used the “vile means” of Grad rockets, killing 45 foreign fighters, to take the facilities.

ISIS said it also killed about 40 Assad troops and took “a large number of heavy weapons”.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: “We Were Late Sending Fighters to Syria”

Defiant Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said he sent his fighters to Syria because Syrian insurgents would “eliminate everyone in Lebanon” if they won.

“The problem in Lebanon is not that Hezbollah went to Syria, but that we were late in doing so,” he told supporters via a TV link from a secret location in southern Lebanon. “This resistance will remain solid, with its head hung high, protecting its people and its nation.”

The Hezbollah leader claimed, “If takfiris achieve victory in Syria, we would all be eliminated in Lebanon, not just the resistance.”

Nasrallah said he first sent “tens of Hezbollah” fighters to Syria to protect the Sayyeda Zaynab shrine in southern Damascus and “avoid larger sectarian strife”.

Suicide Bomber Kills and Wounds 6 Lebanese Soldiers Near Syrian Border

A suicide bomber detonated his car at a Lebanese army checkpoint near the Syrian border on Saturday evening, causing six casualties among the soldiers.

The blast was near the eastern border town of Arsal, home to many thousands of Syrian refugees

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported the casualties without giving breakdown of killed and wounded.

The NNA said the Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek Brigade, an extremist Sunni group, claimed responsibility for the bombing in a message sent on Twitter.

Video: Destruction in Damascus Suburb of Darayya

Video: Aftermath of Regime Airstrike on Tafas in Daraa Province

Shaam News Network says at least nine people were killed.

Regime Claims Advances in Qalamoun Offensive

State news agency SANA says the Syrian military has taken the towns of Ras al-Maara and Fleita in the Qalamoun region between and the Lebanese border.

Five months after the launch of its Qalamoun offensive, the regime is now claiming that it controls all major towns and cities in the region, as well as Syria-Lebanon border crossings.

Regime’s Verbal Attacks on Turkey Escalate

The Assad regime has continued its verbal assault on Turkey’s support of “terrorism”, amid the insurgency’s offensive in Latakia Province.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said Syria was waging a war against the “terrorists” backed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “who is fully aware of their scale, the kind of weapons they use, and the crimes they commit”: “The fact that Erdogan’s government, considered, planned, approved and carried out an aggression against Syria is irrefutable, and…this aggression was carried out on behalf of terrorism and has nothing to do with Turkish national interest.

Assad Regime Denounces UN Report on Millions Failing to Get Aid

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jafari, has denounced a UN report on the humanitarian situation, claiming it ignores obstacles to aid by insurgents.

The report by the UN’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said only 6% of those in need had received aid, despite a February resolution by the Security Council demanding immediate action by the regime and insurgency.

Western diplomats said the regime has allowed aid convoys to cross only one of eight border crossings identified by the UN as a priority. US Ambassador Samantha Power claimed 3.5 million people could be helped “with the stroke of a pen”.

However, Jafari said the report ignores the siege of regime-held areas by insurgents, who “occupy hospitals and turn them into bases for military operations, torture, and executions” and who had abducted and tortured civilians. He complained that Amos ignored the “political aspect” of “terrorists” with “Turkish-Qatari-Saudi-Israeli intelligence support”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also castigated the report:

While enumerating the violations of human rights the resolution does not make any mentioning of violence on the part of paramilitaries that was described in the report in detail — mass executions, abductions of women and children, sexual violence, the use of children soldiers, mortar shelling of densely populated areas, as well as the terrorist acts committed by the groupings making up the Syrian Free Army and closely linked to the Islamic Front.

Scott Lucas
By Scott Lucas March 29, 2014 07:18 Updated
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11 Comments

  1. RedTornadoes March 29, 22:17

    Final Update for Saturday?

    LATTAKIA: Another Major Rebel Victory Needs Confirmation, Could Cause Panic

    “Syrian Rebels took control over the Badrousiyeh mountain in Kasab” –Tazimorocco. If true, it could could give some limited credence to reports that Maher Assad and his 4th Armored Division are headed for Lattakia. Rebels are doing too well and could be causing panic.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.886616&lon=35.896711&z=14&m=b

    Rebel gains have been so much greater than expected. At least one rebel commander in Lattakia is urging reinforcements and argues rebels could take the coast. Maher could fear the same. I’ve always argued the coast had to be lightly defended and any half-serious rebel offensive there could cause major damage UNLESS the regime sent massive reinforcements which could enable big rebel gains elsewhere.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfp8jz1bxyQ&feature=youtu.be

    ALEPPO: Ahrar al-Sham claims to have killed 30 Hezbollah jihadis in Sheik Najjar today.

    DAMASCUS: An Air Force Intelligence officer was assassinated with a bullet to the head in his own house located on Baghdad Street in Damascus. Source: Tahrir Sy That should worry others.

    Reply to this comment
  2. RedTornadoes March 29, 21:38

    Unconfirmed:

    MAHER ASSAD & 4TH ARMOURED HAVE LEFT DAMSCUS

    According to the report, they are heading for Lattakia
    though if there is any truth to it, other destinations seem more likely. I’d also think rebel sources inside the regime would be aware of the move. The Americans and Israelis wouldn’t be likely to miss it either.

    Source: Islam Front in Focus

    If the regime intends to hold Damascus, a move on Lattakia makes no sense at all exacept as panic. Damascus would surely fall to the rebels in Adra, East Ghouta, Quneitra and Daraa provinces would likely seize the city.

    If the regime intends to withdraw to the coast and possibly Central Syria it is a different story. There have been some signs pointing in that direction lately.

    Another possiblity would be the move is a feint and the regime intends to attack rebel in Adra or the Homs/Hama area.

    Reply to this comment
  3. RedTornadoes March 29, 15:57

    Update #2

    DESPERATE REGIME PROPAGANDISTS USE OLD MOVIE SCENE AS “REBEL ATROCITY”

    Common sense suggests that if rebel atrocities are hard to find, regime propaganda wouldn’t have to go to extremes like this to make them up. In the latest incident they used a scene from a movie entitled “Inner Depravity” that shows a woman murdered with a cross shoved in her mouth as a “rebel atrocity.”
    Anyone can see the film and check for himself. Logic says if this regime posts one such fake it would post dozens. Further evidence of unscrupulous dishonesty is the way regime propagandists on sites like Yahoo, who given a quota of posts to meet, constantly use fake western names and talk of “we” and “us.”

    The regime has posted a whole series of photos and videos of fake massacres of Armenians in Lattakia to con local minorities.

    https://twitter.com/Malcolmite/status/449765142881112064/photo/1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8dy63m13bk

    In the past regime propagandists have used old photos from Afghanistan, from Iraq a decade ago and from the regime’s own massacres of Sunnis (including its chemical attacks) and tried to pass them off as “rebel massacres.” Photos from the Baniyas massacre, in which over 400 Sunni men, women and children were murdered not far from Tartous in the heart of regime country are favorites for such nonsense.

    The nuns of Manoula are currently under house arrest for reporting they had been well treated by Jabhat Al Nusrah.

    ASSAD’S SOLDIERS FILM THEIR WAR CRIMES

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k5ll7BCDK8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Reply to this comment
  4. RedTornadoes March 29, 15:39

    Update #1 (by area of the country)

    HAVE THE REBELS BROKEN THOUGH IN HOMS?

    Middle East News says Rebels in Homs hit two Assad army tanks in the Military Academy base w/ Konkurs ATGM. As the map link shows, that’s well inside the Homs ring road and would be highly significant. I haven’t seen any indication of a rebel presence here previous. The Konkurs are also nice to see.

    A few days ago there was a rebel announcement of a planned offensive north of Homs (a mainly pro-Sunni area). On the same day snother report claimed Assad shipped 5,000 troops from Homs toward Lattakia which would have created vulnerabilities.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&

    On the coastal (western) side of Homs, many loyalists who had been manning checkpoints in Tal Kalakh have been moved to Latakia. Source: Arab Chronicle. The regime wouldn’t do so if it had more manpower.

    ALEPPO FRONT

    Either there’s a blackout on this front or rebels are cooking something up. Main news item from Aleppo Friday was the death of Brigadier Generals Qusay Mohammed Yussuf from wounds inflicted earlier in northwest Aleppo.

    IDLIB

    In an ambush rebels also knocked off a Brigadier General in Idlib Province where he was enroute to Lattakia. The dead guy was Ahman Awad, head of security in Idlib. Also killed were four of his bodyguards.

    Rebels took control of many buildings around the Shia town of Fouad in Idlib Province. Jabhat Al Islam blew up at least two of three buildings that harbored regime snipers.

    DAMASCUS

    Rebels scored a direct hit on the military hospital in the northern suburb of Harasta.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.579579&lon=36.379809&z=17&m=b
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1G2-qFa-tc

    Another notable Bad Guy knocked off Friday: Mahmound Reda Bedai, an IRCG trainer killed in Bedai, had his funeral in Iran today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3med94LdWhI
    https://twitter.com/TahrirSy/status/449684369561513984/photo/1

    LATTAKIA FRONT

    #1:Regime forces attempted a breakthough at Ra’s al Ayn. Rebels destroyed bulldozer and killed rebels trying to advance. Source: Markito0171.

    #2: Clashes have been reported in the coastal town of Badrousiyeh which would represent a nice rebel advance if true. Source: Tazimorocco.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.888911&lon=3
    5.889072&z=13&m=b

    #3 Rebels killed the commander of the #Iraqi shiite “Nagaba” forces called Syed Haider & 3 of his guards today

    http://en.algadtv.com/?p=60916

    #4: For days rebels have blocked the Idlib to Lattakia highway—Markito0171. Here’s one stuck just west of Ariha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2abIdbej8o

    When the convoys from Homs and Idlib started, the regime assured people it would put the Latakia offensive to an end in 48 hours.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Scott Lucas Author March 29, 15:28

    Ramzjoo writes:

    The reality on the ground in Syria despite the much-hyped advance and publicity stunt by rebels in Latakia province:

    Syrian rebels are clearly losing the War:

    http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-anniversary-20140328,0,7014801.story?page=2#axzz2xHvvc4jE

    Assad forces now control 80% of Aleppo:

    http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/03/28/assads-forces-surround-aleppo-now-control-80-percent-of-syrias-largest-city/

    Reply to this comment
    • Caligola March 29, 16:55

      Yes i agree to much hype taking in consideration this small advance in latakia region. Still to see how long it will resist or if it will be wiped out like last attempt, which failed badly for the rebels. In Aleppo regime is slowly making gains. And 2 other villages were taken by hezb in Qalamoun. So i really dont think much has changed with regime still on the advance foot.

      Reply to this comment
      • RedTornadoes March 29, 20:20

        It’s funny how regime propagandists try to spin defeats into victory.

        The last attempt succeded for the rebels in terms of its intended goals–shaking public confidence in the regime, relieving pressure on Homs, etc. It was only a mini-offensive never intended to actually take anything much.

        The current offensive has clearly been long planned and a bit larger but never intended to take the whole coast unless things fall apart. As it is, it has been even more successful than rebels anticiapted so far. Goals: This time, weaken regime pressure elsewhere (Done!), inflict severe attrition among the regime’s most loyal (Done! A disproportionate number of dead are Alawite mlilita), and disrupt regime supply lines. The regime may have given up both Idlib and Aleppo to save Lattakia and greatly weakened its forces in Homs.

        As for Qualaoun, rebels wil take the tradeoffs which also included a regime tank base and a thumping of Assad’s forces in the Adra area where rebels expanded.

        Reply to this comment
        • caligola March 29, 23:04

          Unfortunately for you i am not on the regime side. Its just i am getting a bit tired reading your dillusional reports which if true would have meant the end of the civil war 2 years ago if 1/3 would have been accurate. But i insist unfortunately on the fact that rebel gains in last month have been very weak. If it was not for the offensive in latakia….we would be speaking of SE Aleppo or qalamoun…were regime is on the offensive.

          Reply to this comment
    • Jon H March 29, 18:00

      The only interesting thing, I guess, about both these stories is that neither of them are factually true. It’s nice that when Western media bothers to stop commenting 24/7 on a missing Malaysian plane, they can’t even get basics correct.

      Feh, it’s no wonder. Journalist gets led around by the hand on a specially-tailored trip by Syrian government officials, produces specious piece. And the World Tribune piece doesn’t even cite factual information.

      *Sigh* why would anybody even link these things? They’re so bad…

      Reply to this comment
    • RedTornadoes March 29, 20:29

      Hilarious! Both links take you to the same report from a journalist who appears to believe everything SANA tells him, who bases his conclusions about the war on the ONLY area where the regime has and successes in almost a year (Homs vicinity) and totally ignores great rebel victories recently in Lattakia, Aleppo, Daraa Province, Quneitra Provence, the Adlab/Dumeir area (including the big tankb base) and the area north of Homs. Sorry, but these have 10 times the value of Yabrud and Krak des Chevalliers as anyone competent at military strategy can verify.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Scott Lucas Author March 29, 15:27

    Catmari writes:

    Suspects into Collaborators
    London Review of Books, Peter Neumann argues that Assad has himself to blame

    Three years ago, it was hard to find anything significant about Syria in books about al-Qaida. … Today, by contrast, Syria is widely – and correctly – seen as the cradle of a resurgent al-Qaida: a magnet for jihadist recruits, which offers the networks, skills and motivation needed to produce a new generation of terrorists. How did this happen? And why did it happen so quickly?

    For Bashar al-Assad, the blame lies with outsiders – especially Turkey and the Gulf monarchies – who have used their money and influence to sponsor the uprising, arm the rebels and supply foreign recruits. This is certainly the case, but it’s only part of the story. In the years that preceded the uprising, Assad and his intelligence services took the view that jihad could be nurtured and manipulated to serve the Syrian government’s aims. It was then that foreign jihadists first entered the country and helped to build the structures and supply lines that are now being used to fight the government. To that extent Assad is fighting an enemy he helped to create.

    Continue reading….

    Reply to this comment
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