Syria Daily: Rebels Strike Inside Damascus


Rebels launch largest attacks inside Syria’s capital Damascus since 2015



Israeli Warplanes Strike Inside Syria for 3rd Time in 4 Days

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UPDATE 1630 GMT: There are conflicting reports about the state of the fighting in Jobar in northeastern Damascus.

State media are proclaiming that all areas lost on Sunday have been regained, but a well-placed local source says only one building was retaken “at huge cost” to the pro-Assad attackers.

The regime launched more than 75 airstrikes to try and push back rebels, according to pro-opposition activists.

Footage from the battle:

Aftermath of a strike on nearby Hamouriyah:

Fighters of Faylaq al-Rahman calling on a pro-Assad soldier to surrender:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Rebels have launched their largest attacks inside Damascus in almost two years, striking regime forces in the northeast district of Jobar.

The attackers — including Faylaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and some fighters of the jihadist bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham — advanced on Sunday, beginning with two HTS suicide vehicle bombs destroying a regime operations room about 250 meters behind the frontline. They took several buildings, reportedly including an electricity station (see map), and fought for a transport garage near the al-Abbasiyeen roundabout.

The area is about 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the walls of the Old City.

A Faylaq al-Rahman spokesman claimed more than 100 pro-Assad soldiers were killed and dozens wounded. He said most of the casualties were Hezbollah fighters and Iraqi militiamen.

Other rebel sources declared that more than 50 pro-regime troops were captured, while a statement said two tanks and three armored vehicles were destroyed.

Pro-opposition activists said the regime carried out about 24 airstrikes to try and check the attacks. A resident in the nearby Tijara district said: “The streets are empty and the army has despatched dozens of troops in the streets, and tanks are being moved. The sounds of mortars from Jobar have not stopped.” Many shops were closed, as people moved into the capital away from the clashes.

A local source also said Russian officers and their families were moved from the area, and Damascus University’s School of Agriculture was closed.

Despite regime counter-attacks, by the evening the rebels had established an overground link between Jobar and Qaboun, the Damascus suburb where they have fended off a pro-Assad offensive in recent weeks, to complement tunnels through which they have been moving.

The rebels are hoping to counter the pro-Assad air and ground assault which has been trying in recent weeks to take Qaboun, Barzeh, and Tishreen, despite “reconcilation” agreements from early 2014. Over the past year, the regime and its foreign allies have taken much of the East Ghouta area to the east and northeast of the capital, but an opposition pocket has put up fierce resistance despite months of bombing and artillery attacks.

“This is to relieve the pressure on rebels, with the regime not stopping its bombardment and artillery shelling on our people,” Abu Abdo, a commander in Faylaq al-Rahman.

An immediate goal of Sunday’s attacks was to force the regime to divert forces, blocking its attempt to cut the road between Barzeh and Qaboun.

“Taking this road would isolate Barzeh and Qaboun completely and with a security belt around it,” said Abu Abdullah, a Faylaq al-Rahman fighter.

Free Syrian Army spokesman Issam al Reis pointed to the political and psychological goals of the operations:

Kurdish Militia Agree to Russian Base in NW Syria

The Kurdish militia YPG has agreed to the establishment of a Russian military base in Afrin in northwestern Syria.

The YPG said Moscow will help train its fighters.

The Russian Defense Ministry says it has no plans for new military bases. Instead, it said a branch of its “reconciliation center”, pursuing capitulations of opposition territory, had been placed near Afrin in Aleppo Province.

But YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said Russian troops are already arriving with troop carriers and armored vehicles.

Russia has stepped up its political and military support of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its YPG militia. Earlier this month Moscow and the US placed units and equipment near Manbij, northeast of Aleppo city, to protect the city — held by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces — from an advance by a Turkish-rebel force.

The Kurdish canton of Afrin is separated from the cantons of Cezire and Kobane in northeast Syria by opposition and Turkish-rebel territory.

White Helmets Director Killed by Pro-Assad Missile

The director of White Helmets rescuers in Daraa Province in southern Syria, Abdullah al-Sarhan, was killed when the vehicle in which he was travelling was struck by a missile fired by pro-Assad forces.


Rebels Take 1,200 Square Km from ISIS in Eastern Qalamoun

The Free Syrian Army and Jaish al-Islam have announced the capture of 1,200 square km (432 square miles) of territory from the Islamic State in eastern Qalamoun, northeast of Damascus.

Much of the area is desert, but there are also strategic points which ISIS can no longer use to reinforce units or attack rebels.

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  1. Conflicting reports on this. Seems SAA regained all lost positions yesterday. But these accounts come from pro regime side, silence on rebel one so one might think the siege is back in place and attacked foiled. Next hours will tell the story.

    • Attack foiled and regime regained all lost positions. Again it appears that biggest group in JAI refused to take part in this op. Rebels better simply pack up and drop their weapons if still they cant agree on basically nothing. And sadly the blame is upon themselves.

      • Really? According to the link below and qalaatalmadiq (sp?) clashes are still on going and the following has occurred so far: 1) Head of the IRGC Damascus Division is dead. 2) Russian embassy has been shelled. 3) Israelis are carrying out their promise of obliterating ALL of Assad’s air-defence by targeting airbases in Damascus. Furthermore you’ve overlook the main strategic victory that rebels have achieved besides lifting the siege of Qaboun and that is in the eastern Qalamoun area – according to badly_xeroxed the rebels there are on the verge of capturing breaking through the regime’s Daeesh shield and could potentially link up with the rebels in the Qaboun pocket.

        • Man do you even believe the fairy tales you copy from twitter accounts that best suit your mood at any given time?

          • Ali Bistani: Phhaaarrpppppppppppp!!!!!!!!! That’s how I greet mind-farts from Assadists, now shoo Assadi you’ve wasted too much of my time already.

  2. #Observation: 1) I’ve noticed this – the regime can’t afford to have a full mobilisation (ie hundreds of tanks, thousands of men and airstrikes) in more then two provinces at time (ie when does fully mobilise against rebels in more then two provinces it is forced to either be on the defensive or have a ‘cease fire’ in other provinces). It happened last year when the regime fully mobilised it’s army against rebels in Aleppo and JaI in Damascus but was forced to concede (e.g. Morek) territory in Hama when rebels went on a rampage there. The same is happening this year when the regime fully mobilised against Daeesh in eastern Aleppo and against rebels in Damascus but has been on the defensive as rebels in Deraa take the fight to the regime. This is why rebels should not only have multiple-front offensive (ie in ever province) but that they should time their offensives on the same day. The rebels in Damascus have already stated that the rebel offensives in Deraa has bought them more time much more progress would rebels in Damascus make if rebels in Hama launched their own offensive (e.g. capture Suqaylabiyah and push south towards Masyaf and Salamiyah to link up with Homs pocket) right now?
    Rebels need to acquire a more strategic understanding of their revolution – it should be realised that for rebels in Latakia what happens in Damascus and Hama too or for the rebels in Aleppo that what happens in Homs and Deraa affect them too. This revolution is nation-wide so why are rebels not thinking in national (ie view all the provinces of Syria collectively) terms also? The Russians understand this truth whenever they arrange ‘cease fires’ in one province so they can help Assad escalate violence in two more provinces so why haven’t the rebels understood this truth also? If rebels had a more ‘national’ perspective they would launch offensives to reduce regime supply routes in every province to a single highway so those supply routes become vulnerable, daily, to surprise mortar/ATGM/sniper ambush.
    2) As for rebels in northern Aleppo they should take advantage of the Damascus offensive by escalating (albeit fighting their war in a dirty way – e.g. using weaponised drones, mine-traps and sniper/ATGM ambush of convoys, causing higher KIA/WIA rate against YPG/regime through greater indirect fire attacks like surprise mortar shellings in night-time raids etc) against the YPG in Tel Rifaat and regime in Arimha right now

    • Yes there are clashes ongoing but regime counter retook positions lost and momentum gone for the rebels. Siege is not lifted from what i read. I dont think they lost all positions like regime says though.

    • “why are rebels not thinking in national (ie view all the provinces of Syria collectively) terms also?”
      Tribalism, probably.

  3. @K9
    For what reason would you only follow the twitter account, that paints an overoptimistic rosy-perfect fantasy picture of the situation, with claims that are not backed up by anything and run directly against the facts that we know from reports from both sides?

    As for the offensive: We have photos from practically all fought-over points in SAA hands by todays morning, with at least the majority being claimed as secured yesterday. It doesnt mean that rebels might not still be in some parts of the Industrial Zone for example and I’m not sure if the offensive has failed already and is completely reversed like many pro-regime accounts claim.

    I’ve also read the blame on JAI, which is strange because they dont hold ground in Jobar. They are in the eastern parts of Eastern Ghouta, so of course they couldnt be present (and its probably for the better to prevent a collapse of the frontlines there, if they would have suffered serious losses)
    But right now it does indeed look like a pretty clear and swift defeat.

  4. Scott, why do you buy into the Assad/US/Russian line of calling HTS jihadist. Either all non ISIS opposition to the Assad regime is jihadist or it is not. In the West jihad is implied to be a bad thing. But all it really means is struggle, in this case a struggle for justice.

  5. #Damascus: “News of recapture of #Qabun Industrial Zone are incorrect but Rebels withdrew from Abbasid Garages & interchange areas.” – QalaatAlMudiq
    What I tell you? News that rebels lost Qabun was garbage (ie regime propaganda) told by Assad to his supporters to stop them from panicking.
    #Qalamoun:”#FSA assault #Naqab and #Al_Sharqi mountains forcing the ISIS defenders to flee.” – CombatChris1
    Like I said in my first post, keep an eye-out for the east Qalamoun area. Just to the north-west makhul checkpoint (and to the east of the recently capture Al-Sharqi Mountains) is the strategically important regime-held Al-Sein military airbase, if rebels capture that the area of rebel-held Dumayr becomes even more secure.

  6. #Observation: 1) As I’ve mentioned before (see below link) during this phase of the offensive it’s best to remember: “that the gaps of regime weaknesses rebels have noticed (through open-source, informants and google-earth) which rebels intend (say on day two) to exploit/make-use of during the first phase of their offensive may not be there (because regime has quickly dug a trench there or has moved a brigade of Republican Guards or artillery battery there during the night) in the second phase of rebel offensive. That is why during the second or third phase of the offensive rebels should create multiple diversionary/decoy offensives, just like Daeesh did in order to encircle Palmyra, at ALL vulnerable or prestigious (places regime has to defend because it has important regime infrastructure or has a large shiite population or has a shiite shrine) regime areas so rebels can CREATE (because regime MUST re-enforce that area by weakening/removing regime presence in one town or check-point by sending it’s troops to the point being attacked by rebels) such GAPS/WEAK-POINTS which their reserve troops can exploit (ie push through and over-run) through night-time mobile guerrilla warfare (using multiple battalion-sized?) operations.”
    The best method to achieve the aim of the above paragraph? Through multiple (groups of 4?) mobile units that fights in a mobile way. What do I mean by mobile? Mobile (ie not fixed in one area but can be quickly moves from one theatre to another. Also don’t just have one front for the Russian jets to target (this is what will happen if rebels stay in one location for more then 48 hours – the Russians will just make that another Grozny), open up more using multiple (4 or 5 groups?) company size (ie 100 men: includes mortars/ATGM/weaponised-drone operators along with snipers) units to launch during night-time mobile (where rebels fight in and move to more then one neighbourhood/town/area in one day) operations (e.g. raids and ambush of weak regime positions during night-time) on multiple locations simultaneously. Such unexpected night-time raids/ambushes at unexpected locations (e.g. supply routes or isolated check-points) will cause regime troops at those areas to panic especially if rebels make their attacks on regime positions bigger then they are by storming it not only at night-time but from multiple directions with VBIEDs and motorbike units.
    2) Fight cheap and dirty, if rebels now that after 48hours Russian jets will attack that area rebels should immediately begin to booby-trap buildings they’ve captured and plant VBIEDs nearby on narrow streets with concealed snipers/ATGM-operators as well as use weaponised drones so when regime troops re-enter those areas those regime troops walk into ambush. Want a example? See below link –
    Excerpt from the above link: “Iraqi forces launched a daring nighttime raid in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the sprawling complex of municipal buildings in western Mosul along the Tigris River. Beginning just after midnight, Iraq’s emergency response division, an elite arm of the Federal Police, led the attack. Initially advancing some half a dozen blocks past the front line in armored vehicles, but breaching the complex itself on foot…He traced his troops’ advances on a tablet showing a satellite map of Mosul — boasting of their quick progress — but the markers showed that the soldiers has just pushed up the two main roads leading to the complex and hadn’t cleared the dozens of tightly packed homes on either side…Snipers began to fire down on Iraqi forces from the buildings above and previously concealed suicide car bombs rammed their convoys. Ibrahim said he was trapped in the complex for hours as IS fighters moved out from un-cleared neighborhoods and cut the routes his forces used to enter.”
    Note how Daeesh launch their counter-offensives (ie in waves/multiple-phases, from multiple directions, cutting off retreat routes through uncleared housing blocks, using VBIED to attack enemy rear whilst snipers pick off infantry hiding between vehicles etc) and thereby turn their counter-offensives into a giant ambush when the Iraqi government tried to raid their positions.

  7. #International: Apparently the Lebanese government is forcing Syrian refugees into penury by outlawing Syrian businesses according to this link:
    I hope in the next Israeli-Hezbollah war that not only Israel flattens enough of Lebanon to send Hezbollistan back to the stone age but that the Saudis start arming the Syrian refugees and Lebanese Sunnis enough that they can launch a successful siege of large Lebanese towns/cities near the Syrian border.

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