Syria Daily, July 7: Regime Continues Advance Near Aleppo

Scott Lucas
By Scott Lucas July 7, 2014 06:26 Updated

Syria Daily, July 7: Regime Continues Advance Near Aleppo

Story Highlights

  • Syrian forces take village north of Sheikh Najjar industrial area
  • Regime hoping to cut off insurgents in eastern Aleppo

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PHOTO: Syrian Troops in Sheikh Najjar Industrial Area

LATEST: Liwa Dawoud Joins Islamic State

MONDAY FEATURE

Week Past, Week Ahead: Syria — Opposition Caught Between Assad & Islamic State

Syrian forces continued their advance east of Aleppo on Sunday, putting further pressure on insurgents in the eastern half of Syria’s largest city.

Having taken the Sheikh Najjar industrial area on Friday, Syrian troops secured the village of Kifr Saghir to the north.

The regime forces advancing towards the Infantry Academy, their next major target, and highways leading to the northeast and northwest.

The Syrian military has tried for months to take the area so it can impose a siege on the insurgents in their section of Aleppo, which they have held since July 2012. The strategy would replicate that used in Homs to force the final evacuation of insurgents from all but one neighborhood earlier this year.

Meeting in Istanbul, the opposition Syrian National Coalition warned of a regime assault on insurgent-held areas of Aleppo.

“The military situation is very difficult, the siege of Aleppo has become a reality,” spokesperson Luay Safi said. “Syrian troops are preparing to invade Aleppo.”

Safi continued, “To this day the United States is preventing the dispatch of sophisticated weapons to the Free Syrian Army to fight Assad’s terrorism and radical organizations.”


Liwa Dawoud Joins Islamic State

Sources confirm that Liwa Dawoud, an insurgent faction in northwest Syria, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The brigade has separated from Jaish al-Islam and has traveled from Idlib Province to ISIS’ main base in Raqqa in north-central Syria.

Regime Tries to Blame Insurgents for Chemical Attacks by Handing Sarin Cylinders to UN

The Assad regime has tried to pin blame for chemical weapons attacks on insurgents by handing two cylinders which contained sarin to the United Nations.

The revelation came in a June 26 letter from the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the UN Security Council, published on Monday.

The Syrian Government initially declared the cylinders as “abandoned chemical weapons” to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last October.

Ban’s letter indicated that the regime subsequently said the Syrian military seized the cylinders “in August 2013 in an area reportedly under the control of armed opposition groups”.

On August 21, 2013, the Assad regime carried out chemical weapons attacks near Damascus, killing hundreds of civilians. Soon after the attacks, Russian and Syrian propaganda tried to shift the blame to insurgents with “homemade” weapons.

The OPCW confirmed the presence of sarin in the two cylinders, according to Ban’s letter, dated June 26. It is unclear if they have now been destroyed.

Car Bomb Explodes at Bab al-Hawa Crossing on Turkish Border

A car bomb exploded on Monday at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkish border.

Sources indicate material damage but no casualties.

Report: Free Syrian Army Factions in Eastern Syria Lay Down Arms, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Zaman al-Wasl, from “sources and eyewitnesses”, reports that Free Syrian Army factions have laid down arms and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a public ceremony in Al Bukamal in eastern Syria.

The Islamic State took the town, on the Iraqi border, last week when insurgents withdrew.

A source said fighters pledged allegiance after commanders and other troops retreating into the countryside.

A well-placed EA correspondent confirms, “Fighters in tribal units in the Free Syrian Army cannot just withdraw and leave their families alone.”

Insurgents Destroy 3 Tanks, Inflict Significant Regime Casualties Near Base in Idlib Province

Insurgents have attacked checkpoints near the regime’s al-Hamidiyah base south of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib Province (see map) , claiming the destruction of three tanks and significant regime casualties.

Insurgent outlets said the assault started a large fire inside the base.

ATTACK AL-HAMIDIYA

Insurgents appear to be putting pressure on the regime’s two large bases in Idlib Province, al-Hamidiyah and Wadi ad-Deif, similar to the isolation of regime bases near Khan Shaykhoun earlier this year.

In offensives since the spring, insurgents have tried to clear regime forces from the area near the highway between Hama Province and Maarat al-Numan.

Scott Lucas
By Scott Lucas July 7, 2014 06:26 Updated
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15 Comments

  1. traveller July 8, 07:46

    >>Liwa Dawoud Joins Islamic State

    The brigade has (…) traveled from Idlib Province to ISIS’ main base in Raqqa in north-central Syria.<<

    Does that mean there´s no presence of Liwa Dawoud
    in Idlib Provionce anymore?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mofatani July 8, 02:25

    Assad knows he’s toast, Syria will never be rebuilt and homelessness from all the barrel bomb destruction of homes and infrastructure have made Allepo and Homs unliveable for decades. Even if he captures it, its too big to control ie QALAMOUN

    The cost of rebuilding is more than 200 billion. The oil wells are gone to ISIS and its only a matter of time before the Syrian kurds join up with the kurds in Iraq and announce Kurdistan in the UN, thus taking another chunk of “Syria”

    So now the war continues until Hezbollah is fully drained and SAA is fully drained and IRGC is fully drained …and sanctions have fully drained Iran economically. WHO LOSES— IRAN

    This is why Obama chose not support the rebels in finishing Assad, and only allowed them to prolong the war, thus killing as much Hezbo & SAA & IRGC etc as possible.

    The losses by hezbollah alone in these 2 years since they publicly joined assad are more than the losses of 20 years trying to free Southern Lebanon from Israel.

    Iraqi shiite militias who were so happy with the American invasion to remove Saddam have now also lost every single city above Baghdad to ISIS and sunni tribes, and Baghdad may be next.

    Iran economically is slumped and the regime their knows it may be headed towards revolution… read the signs. Rowhani puppet & negotiations are meant to calm the boiling Iranian populations discontent. Its not working yet…

    Obama’s choices dont reflect his words, but they make no difference. The war would have continued even if he did help and bombed Assad after the chemical weapons he threw at Ghouta, This war would still be continuing as Hezbollah and Shiite militias would still be trying to own the ground in Syria and keep their bridge from the Lebanon thru Syria thru Iraq to Iran. The “shiite crescent”

    Obama could have saved more lives or sent better weapons, but today Iran is still losing and all Irans projection of force in the region is being drained. If a war should break out, the region is no more afraid of Irans projection as it once was. Remember all the bellowing about closing hormuz strait and attacking Saudi Arabia and Israel from Lebanon.

    Iran can barely keep Iraq or Syria under its thumb and Hezbollah can be bombed like Assad (8 times) and will not respond out of its weakness.

    Reply to this comment
  3. caligola July 7, 22:07

    New defections to ISIS but this time whats isignificant is the area. Liwa al-Dawud pledged alliance to ISIS today in Idlib. Source: @Charles Lister

    Reply to this comment
  4. RedTornadoes July 7, 21:09

    CLEARLY OBAMA & USA NOW SUPPORT SUPPORTING GENOCIDE IN SYRIA

    Why not make it official and be done with ir? Obama has always wanted the moderate rebels destroyed. Now he is helping an Assad/IISIS alliance o seize most of eastern Syria from Deir Ezzor to Aleppo. He claims (correctly) that ISIS is a terrorist and extremist but allows it to prosper in Syria while acting with extreme rapidity in Iraq to help bail out his Ianian masers. In 3 1/2 years he has done nothing to help moderatre rebels in Syria. In Iraq he jumped in withindays when Khamenei snapped his fingers.

    Like it or not, by allying Amrica with those responsible for thousands of horrific crimes in Syria, Obama has made us all Americans accessories to genocide in the eyes of 90 percent of the Muslim world which consists of SUnnis. Because of Obama we may face hundreds of Boston Marathon style attacks down the road.

    There is no other way to spin Obama’s earlier betrayals and his latest gem. Now America has aligned itself with Iran, Putin, Assad and (temporarily but only in Syria) with ISIS. Shame! Shame! Every Sunni site on the Internet is enraged by America’s collusion. Obama secretly sided with Assad’s crimes from Day One. The fact that he provided the rebels with a few slingshots or occassionally condemned a few regime crimes was only Potemkin Village fakery. Look at Obama’s actions not his words to see what hie was up to. His first loyalty is and always has been to his masters in Tehran/ Obama could not care less about his.the Syrians, our allies and the American people who he has now implicated in Assad’s crimes.

    A democratic and secular government would have been the best choice for most Syrians. But since Iran, Assad, and Putin didn’t want that, Omama decided to help take it away. The scheme of Obama and his Bad Buys allies assumes rebels will then have no choce but to decide with Assad. First to defect were many Jabha Al Nusrah units which may be fine with Obama, Assad, and Iran. Bu yesterday many FSA units-including secular fighters–tossed down their weapons in Deir Ezzor and pledged allegiance to ISIS. Crocker, Dempsy, Obama and Khamenei must have been surprised. Yet you can’t blame the rebels, many of who will now be radicalism and who are very good fighters. Why wouldt hey choose ISIS over Assad given no other choice?

    Reason #1: The regime is hated more than ISIS because it has committed far more crimes, though ISIS “potential” (key word) may be greater.

    Reason #2: To “reward” Obama, Dempsey and Crocker for their betrayals. Rebels will be damned before they do that.

    Reason #3: If Assad wins it would mean “a boot in your face forever” (George Orwell). War criminals would get away with mass murder and Iran, Putin and Hezbollah would continue to keep the regime afloat whether under the Assad Brothers or a twin.

    Reason #4 If ISIS wins it will be far more vulnerable than the Assad regime with enemies inside and outside the counry and even many Islamists hostile.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Yassam July 7, 15:24

    There are reports that even the Infantry Academy has now fallen. Of course its all still unconfirmed, could be just propaganda.

    But its still unbelievable how fast the rebel frontlines seem to be collapsing here and in Deir-az-Zour. Where have all the multiple tens of thousands of alleged rebel fighters gone?

    Reply to this comment
    • caligola July 7, 16:07

      Yes heard the news too. Rebel front lines in and around aleppo falling at great speed. On this pace Aleppo will fall before the end of the month. At that point whats left of the rebels will be scattered isolated pockets mostly in the south and something in centre of country.Total defeat aint far away if things continue like this. Then once rebels are relegated to an insignificant role it will be of extreme curiosity what will happen between isis and assad.

      Reply to this comment
  6. RedTornadoes July 7, 08:27

    A SURPRISING NEW DEVELOPMENT IN DEIR EZZOR RAISES QUESTIONS

    The regime fought hard to keep Deir Ezzor Military Airport when rebels sought it buthas no qualms about handing it over to ISIS. Reports say tanks and aircraft are being evacuated from Deir Ezzor Military Airport. Paradoxy says most evacuees are going to Tabqa airport and in large numbers.

    It will be interesting to see how ISIS & the regime work things out in Aleppo if the teams can drive out the rebels. I know ISIS insists Aleppo is part of its “caliphate” and are likely to declare it their capital.

    Alawites need to think about known ISIS policies, just in case. In Deir Ezzor, ISIS kicked out 30,000 people yesterday–all lSunnis. They’ve been much tougher on Shia, seeing them as “apostates.” In Iraq ISIS slaughteres captured Shia–civilian and military. Regime defenders here will probably agree ISIS is going to turn on the regime someday. The catch is it will happen without warning and the move will be massive.

    OBAMA’S PET GENERAL GETS HISTORICAL REPLICA AWARD

    If Obma is a doppleganger for Neville Chanberlain, who does General Dempsey resemble? Wilhelm Keitel, Hitler’s favorite general. Keitel was an incompetent who fawned over lousy strategic decision. He also kept more competent types (Rommel, Guderian, Von Mannstein) as far away from Hitler as possible. You really need to see the awesome German film, “Downfall” to understand this.

    REBEL DESTINATIONS AFTER DEIR EZZOR

    If regime forces are headed for Tabqa (for possible invasion of Aleppo maybe?) tousands of rebels have gone to Qalamoun. The other favorite seems to be the highly strategic Salimiyeh area, east of Homs.
    Wasn’t it better for the regime to have them in distant in Deir Ezzor?

    DAVID IGNATIUS: Suleimani—one adored by Iranians as a genius—blew it big in Syria and Iraq

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-iran-overplays-its-hand-in-iraq-and-syria/2014/07/03/132e1630-02db-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html

    CRIMEA EUPHORIA FADES FOR SOME RUSSIANS

    http://news.yahoo.com/crimea-euphoria-fades-russians-104555489–business.html

    Just as Russians are enjoying the dubious benefits of taking over the Crimea, Alawites are enjoying the rich benefits –economic and funereal–of joining Assad’s crusade against democracy.

    DAMASCUS (East Ghouta)

    According to Al Ghairab, JAN may agree to fight ISIS in East Ghouta. They had been balking earlier.

    KURD REPORT: The Kurds claim to have killed 90 ISIS fighters near Kobani today.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ali Bistani July 7, 18:12

      moderate rebels are only left in Daraa, where we can see the full bestiality of what is a moderate rebel.
      I am reffering to the video, where an older woman bashes the head of a captured soldier with arms tied behind his back with a hammer, accompanied by the cheering of proponents of freedom and democracy. The video ends with a kid stabbing the lifeless body several time like a crazed animal.

      This is the brithplace of the “revolution”.

      Reply to this comment
      • RedTornadoes July 7, 21:20

        Oh, come on. You can’t compare this to Baniyas or the chemical weapons attack or the young woman the regime raped for eight hours then shot in the legs and used as sniper bait, killing four men who tried to rescue here. You aren’t really going to pretend rebel crimes come anywhere near matching regime crimes which are sanctioned and encouraged from the top.

        How is an unarmed female civilian is not a rebel. Why wouldn’t unarmed civilians hate a regime that targetrs them for all kinds of horrific crimes and laughs about it? This incident clearly looks personal, as a homicide cop would say. I’ll bet the soldier probably raped the woman or her daughter had been involved in other crimes.

        It reminds me of the notorious “cannibal” iincident in which the regime relies on half truth by keeping ou a key detai. In the latter case he dead guy actually has a video of himself and buddies raping two women and killing one of them in front of their kids and laughing all the way. The guy kept the video so he could relive his regime-style pleasures.

        Reply to this comment
        • Ali Bistani July 10, 16:45

          soo i guess execution in the street by an elderly woman with a hammer and being finished off by a kid probably younger than 10, is common practice for moderate rebels?

          you dont need to focus on assad crimes, focus a bit more on rebel crimes and their barbarity, maybe you will figure out why noone is helping them.

          Reply to this comment
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