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“Multiple U.S. officials” have said that Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian port in Lattakia (see map) on July 5.

Claims about explosions and strikes in Syria have circulated widely in the last week, but there was no confirming evidence andno one had claimed responsibility.

Three US officials told CNN the target of the airstrikes were Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles.

The Israeli Government has refused to make any comment.

Israel has hit targets inside Syria, including a convoy and a “scientific research facility” near Damascus, on three other occasions in the last year.

(Featured Photo: Aftermath of Israeli airstrike inside Syria in May)

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Syrian National Coalition Warns: Assad Sending Elite Troops To Qaboun, Barzeh In Damascus

The Syrian National Coalition on Saturday warned that 40,000 civilians in the Qaboun and Barzeh neighborhoods in northern Damascus are under the threat of being attacked as Assad’s elite forces are heading towards these areas for a possible land offensive.

Barzeh and Qaboun, capture which would give Assad’s forces control over entry into Damascus from the north, have been under siege for seven months. The SNC said that security and military checkpoints set up across the two neighborhoods and noted that Assad’s forces have been heavily shelling both neighborhoods with artillery from locations at Mount Qasioun.

This footage, posted by activists on Saturday, claims to show a surface-to-surface missile strike on Qaboun:

This video, also from Saturday, claims to show homes in Barzeh being targeted by heavy machine gun fire:

Syrian State news agency SANA on Saturday reported gains for the regime in both Qaboun and Barzeh, citing an “official source” as saying that Assad’s forces had “gained control over several building blocks near the educational satellite TV channel headquarter in Barzeh, having eliminated the terrorists inside them. Sayyah al-Habboul was identified among the dead terrorists.”

SANA added:

The engineering units neutralized 4 explosive devices in the area ranging in weight between 15-25 kg rigged for remote detonation, as several terrorists were killed and wounded in al-Qaboun neighborhood, among them the terrorist Ali al-Sayyed.

Shopping With Bashar — Regime Claims It Cut Food Prices In Damascus Store

As Syrians complain of skyrocketing prices and food shortages this Ramadan — and as activists post amateur footage of local people providing food aid to needy civilians (see our report earlier this morning of a food aid center in Raqqa), the regime attempted on Saturday to push back by claiming that all is well.

Syrian State media reports on Saturday that the Assad regime has cut prices at a supermarket in Damascus’s Umayyad Consumer Complex to “support citizens’ basic needs during this holy month”.

State news agency SANA has published a series of photographs of the goods on sale at the supermarket — though it does not give details of prices. The photos show piles of cleaning products, soft drinks, canned goods and cooking oil, among other items. In one photo — shown below — shoppers are seen walking around the store as a large photograph of a smiling President Bashar al-Assad looks on.


Video: Free Syrian Army Commander Describes Killing of Colleague by Islamic State of Iraq

A Free Syrian commander, Abu Hol, describes Thursday’s killing of fellow commander Kamal Hamami by the Islamic State of Iraq at a checkpoint in Lattakia Province.

Abu Hol said, “We want to avoid all-out war with Al Qa’eda, but we demand justice for our killed commander and that all foreigners leave our country.”

The commander declared that the ISI had 24 hours to hand over the killers “to face justice”: “Otherwise, there will be an escalation.”

As Violence Escalates In Homs, State Media Remind Readers Of Pool Party In Damascus

As fighting between regime forces and insurgents escalates in Homs on Saturday, with the UN warning that the regime is using long-range weapons and tank attacks against insurgents and civilians, with up to 2,500 people trapped in the city, Syrian State media outlet SANA attempts to show that all is well in Damascus, noting that people in the capital can attend a pool party today, with music by DJ Saad.

Iraq FM: We Cannot Stop Iran Overflights to Syria

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said that Baghdad is unable to stop Iran transferring weapons to Syria through its airspace.

“We reject and condemn the transfer of weapons through our airspace and we will inform the Iranian side of that formally. But we do not have the ability to stop it,” Zebari told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

The US has repeatedly warned Iraq not to allow Iranian weapons flights to cross its airspace into Syria. But Zebari replied, “If you imagine these flights breach United Nations Security Council resolutions banning weapons imports and exports from Iran…I invite you in the name of the government to help us stop these flights across Iraqi airspace,” he said.

He said random checks by Iraq on Iranian aircraft bound for Syria since September had only found non-lethal aid like medicines and food.

Zebari said Iraq does not provide any weapons or money to Syria and, despite requests from Damascus, does not sell it crude oil at preferential rates.

Video: Woman Talks About Raqqa’s Food Aid Center, Activists Cook Iftar Meal For The Needy

On Friday, EA reported on the Baghdad Gate Center in Raqqa, a charitable project that is providing food aid to local people. Here is more footage of the project, in which a local woman says she goes to the Center every day to get meat, bread and vegetables. The video also shows a long line of local people, including numerous children, waiting to get food from the center:

This footage from Friday shows local activists in Raqqa cooking an Iftar meal to feed as many needy residents as possible:

Deadly Ambush of Regime Forces Near Homs

Insurgents have struck regime forces massing in a village near Homs — killing at least nine and wounding 30, with others missing.

The Syrian troops were gathering on Wednesday in the village of Zara as part of the build-up for the regime’s current attempt to regain full control of Homs.

(See earlier EA report)

The opposition fighters, who took control of a nearby power plant, claim they killed 80 regime troops and said they destroyed 12 tanks and armored vehicles. Regime media assert that three vehicles were captured but were subsequently demolished by a regime airstrike.

At least six insurgents were also slain.

The regime media also said the opposition fighters were joined by reinforcements from the Krak des Chevaliers, the 12th-century castle damaged by Syrian shelling on Friday.


The Local Coordination Committees claim 56 people were killed on Friday, including 27 in Damascus and its suburbs.

The Violations Documentation Center reports that 66,009 people have been slain since the start of the conflict in March 2011, an increase of 71 since Friday. Of these, 50,367 were civilians, a rise of 31 from yesterday.