PHOTO: Victims in Busra al-Sham in Daraa Province in southern Syria on Sunday
As the Assad regime maintains bombing across Syria — in part to press offensives, in part to hold back insurgent advances — almost 100 civilians were killed on Sunday.
The Local Coordination Committees, who focus on civilian casualties, said it documented 90 deaths, including 10 women and nine children. Of the dead, 41 were in Aleppo Province in the northwest and 23 in Daraa Province in the south.
In the village of Busra al-Sham in Daraa Province, 15 members of a single family were killed in airstrikes.
There is no way to establish the exact number of bombings, although one “monitoring group” seized headlines by spreading social media chatter of 200 in a single day. However, the scale of the Assad regime’s bombardment has been seen in central Syria, where it claimed the strategic town of Morek after up to 90 aerial attacks in a 48-hour period. The Syrian military is now starting sustained attacks on insurgent-held Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib Province in northwest Syria, and is continuing to try and break insurgent resistance in the divided city of Aleppo. It is also pounding al-Wa’er in Homs, with its tens of thousands of residents, in an effort to opposition fighters from their last positions in the city.
Not all of the attacks are in support of regime advances. In the south, Syrian forces are trying to hold back insurgents who are continuing to take more of Daraa Province, threatening to cut off the main Damascus highway to Daraa city and to Jordan.
Western and Arab officials, based at an operations center in the Jordanian capital of Amman, said the regime is now using some precision-guided bombs in southern Syria as well as its cruder but deadly barrel bombs.
Insurgent sources said at least 27 people were killed and 54 wounded in the Sheikh Miskeen and Busra al-Sham areas. They said the toll would have been higher if insurgent factions had not evacuated their headquarters during the attacks.
Video: Islamic State Hostage-Spokesman Cantile Gives A Tour of Kobane
The Islamic State’s hostage-turned-spokesman John Cantile gives a guided tour of jihadist-held areas of the Kurdish center of Kobane in northern Syria:
British photojournalist John Cantile was captured by the Islamic State in November 2012, along with US counterpart James Foley, who was executed in August 2014.
In the video, Cantile counters Western “propaganda” — allegedly fed by Kurdish commanders and the White House — by declaring that only “mujahideen” are in the area from which he is speaking: “Even with all their airpower and with all their proxy troops, they cannot defeat the Islamic State.”
He insists the “battle of Kobane is coming to an end”, with the jihadists “mopping up street to street”.
Video: Amid the Attacks in Kobane, Children Enjoy a Playground Swing
A brief glimpse of life away from the war in Kobane in northern Syria — while smoke rises over the town, children play on a swing set (0:55 in the video):
Iraqi Kurds Will Provide Artillery Support But “No Direct Fighting” for Kobane
Iraqi Kurdish forces will not be involved in ground fighting in Kobane in northern Syria, a Kurdish spokesman said on Sunday.
Instead, the peshmerga will provide artillery support for the Syrian Kurds trying to repel the Islamic State.
The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament have authorized the deployment, and the Turkish Government has agreed to the transit of 150 fighters en route to Kobane.
“Primarily, it will be a back-up support with artillery and other weapons,” Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government spokesman Safeen Dizayee said. “It will not be combat troops as such, at this point anyway.”
Kurdish officials in Kobane said the Islamic State shelled the border post with Turkey overnight but were pushed back by Kurdish fighters.
“Of course they will try again tonight,” said Idris Nassan. “Last night they brought new reinforcements, new supplies, and they are pushing hard.”
State Media: 5 Civilians Killed by Insurgent Mortars and Rockets in Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs
State news agency SANA says five civilians were killed and 45 wounded by insurgent mortars and rockets in Syria’s three largest cities
SANA said two civilians were killed, including a girl, and 24 children were injured by rockets fired near a primary school in the al-Seryan neighborhood of Aleppo.
One person was killed and 12 injured by eight mortar shells in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus. Rockets killed one civilian and injured nine at the southern entrance of Homs city and near al-Talae Park, according to the agency.