LATEST: Insurgents Attack 1 of Regime’s Last Positions in Southwest Syria Near Israeli Border


Snapshot: Life in Damascus Suburb of Douma — “Most People Are in Bad Situation”
How the Islamic State Rules Over Raqqa

UPDATE 1530 GMT: An Islamic State fighters rejects Kurdish claims that a vital road link into Kobane has been cut by their militia, blocking supplies to Islamic State forces inside the town.

The claim is part of Kurdish assertions this week that they are on the verge of defending the jihadists after their weeks-long occupation of part of Kobane.

Claims are circulating that Kurdish forces have pushed back the Islamic State after its three-month offensive in and near Kobane in northern Syria.

The Islamic State has occupied up to 40% of the town, near the Turkish border, for weeks; however, Kurdish officials have said in recent days that their fighters have recaptured a series of hills around Kobane and have pushed the jihadists into the southeastern corner of the town.

A Kurdish fighter shows off weapons and ammunition after the capture of an Islamic State position in Kobane:

It is difficult to verify the Kurdish assertions; however, one interesting piece of evidence pointing to the Islamic State’s difficulties comes from its own side.

Joanna Paraszczuk posts the plea of an Islamic State fighter inside Kobane to their supporters:

You’re all comfortable in a soft bed, and we are anxious under a rain of missiles.

You will not understand the feeling when the sky is torn up from drones, and the earth is bursting from what is falling on it.

You do not understand the feeling when you lie, hoping to sleep an hour before your next turn guarding the front, and there are bombs falling and fragments of the ceiling drop on you, when you do not know which of the walls will fall on you in the next few minutes, or even worse, the roof.

When brothers are killed in front of you, yes, yes, we have seen all that in the movies, but few have experienced it, when you know there is no turning back, that hell is behind you and ahead of you are trials.

The fighter, Adam al-Almani, concludes with an appeal: Pray for Us.

Insurgents Attack 1 of Regime’s Last Positions in Southwest Syria Near Israeli Border

Pressing their offensive in Quneitra Province in southwest Syria, insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, on Thursday.

Baath and nearby Khan Arnabeh are the last positions of the Syrian army in the province following a series of insurgent advances this year.

Activists said insurgents, including the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra, were in street fighting with regime forces in the city centre overnight before they were pushed back to the outskirts on Thursday.

Thousands of Baath City’s 30,000 residents have fled.

Baath was named after Syria’s ruling Baath Party and became the provincial administrative center after the destruction of nearby Quneitra city in the 1967 war with Israel.

Insurgents, renewing their offensive in the province this week, said they had captured several villages on the outskirts of Baath.

Video: Detailed Discussion of Chechen Factions Fighting in Syria

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty posts an excellent, detailed video discussion by Joanna Paraszczuk of the Chechen factions fighting in Syria — those within the Islamic State, those within the insurgency, and those “independent” of both sides.