Claims of almost 2,000 strikes and shellings of Daraa in just over two weeks
UPDATE 1600 GMT: The Assad regime’s military has declared a 48-hour truce “in support of national reconciliation”.
The halt in attacks, including more than two weeks of escalated bombing and shelling, will begin at midnight.
The military said the regime “is keen on consolidating local reconciliations in parallel with the army’s operations to eradicate takfiri terrorism and restore security and stability to all Syrian territories”.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Pro-Assad forces have continued an escalation of bombing of Daraa city, the birthplace of Syria’s 2011 uprising, into a third week.
The pro-Assad attacks initially tried to hold back a rebel offensive that took most of the strategic district of Manshiyah, capturing security and other regime buildings. It then supported a counter-offensive to regain territory in the city, divided since 2012.
On Friday morning, the regime’s military began with barrel bombs on the Old City section, and it continued with other aerial attacks and shelling.
A pro-opposition outlet summarized that, in the past two weeks, there have been at least 712 barrel bombs, 166 airstrikes, 610 “elephant” rockets, 450 artillery shells, and 86 incendiary munitions dropped on Daraa and the surrounding area.
Yet, despite the bombardment there were signs on Friday that the regime might be acknowledging the failure to retake territory, despite reinforcements including Hezbollah fighters and Iranian-led foreign militia.
A pro-Assad website, which often circulated claims by the regime’s military, claimed that a 48-hour ceasefire will begin on Sunday, with the possibility of an extension. The truce would seek an end to attacks on both sides, including airstrikes, and the dispatch of reinforcements.
However, a meeting has not been held between representatives of rebels and the regime military, according to the site.
TOP PHOTO: Claimed image of explosion of incendiary munition in Daraa city earlier this week
Kurdish PYD Leader: Iran Trying to Undermine Us
Salih Muslim, co-president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), has accused Iran of trying to undermine the Kurds in Syria, while denying “rumours” by Qatari and Turkish media outlets that the PYD supports Assad regime.
Muslim noted that he and his wife Aisha Afendi, like many PYD members, were imprisoned by the regime in a2 “bitter and long” conflict.
We have no relations with Iran, and Iran’s policy is no different from that of the Syrian regime on the Kurdish issue, which is hostile to the Kurds’ fundamental rights.
They fear that the Kurds will gain their fights in Syria, and the Iranian and Syrian regime have the same position [on the Kurds].
Declaring Iranian-Qatari-Turkish coordination against the Kurds, he said, “This alliance invaded our homes and caused the martyrdom of many since 2012. We have suffered a lot of the policies of genocide and the denial of existence at the hands of this alliance.”
Muslim appeared to reach out for public support from Saudi Arabia, which broke relations with Qatar and imposed a blockade on Doha almost two weeks ago. He said hoped the presence of Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries will help to consolidate the bonds of brotherhood between communities.
Reports: Pro-Assad “Shabiha” Committing Murders, Kidnaps, Rapes, and Detentions in Aleppo
Pro-opposition website report a “state of fear” in Aleppo as pro-Assad armed men — “shabiha” — commit murders, kidnaps, and rapes.
Cases raising attention is the alleged kidnap and gang rapes of a 17-year-old in the Sayf Dawlah neighborhood and another girl in Maydan When local people protested, they were dispersed by gunfire.
The sites also say that one child was run over and killed in the Furqan neighborhood, and another in Heidariyah.
Russian patrols were supposed to keep order after pro-Assad forces reoccupied the eastern part of Aleppo in December, but throughout the past month, local sources have reported beatings, rapes, and detentions of civilians. There are also claims of executions in the area near Aleppo.