LATEST: Video — Rally in Insurgent-Held Bustan al-Qasr in Aleppo
After weeks of bombardment, regime forces have further stepped up pressure on insurgent-held areas in Homs, with claims they hold parts of the Khalidiya section north of the city center.
Video on Monday displayed the continued shelling. One local activist estimated that the Syrian military now held 30% of Khalidiya; another denied it had advanced beyond buildings on the outskirts seized last weekend. State media and officials claimed President Assad’s troops were in control and were mopping up pockets of “terrorist” resistance.
Reports were sketchier of the regime’s attacks on other areas such as Bab Houd.
The regime claimed control of Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, after a bloody offensive in February-March 2012, but the opposition has remained in some districts.
Video of a regime bombardment on Monday:
Claimed footage of an opposition protest in Khalidiya last night:
Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said Tuesday he has handed over evidence to the UN which indicates Syrian insurgents used sarin gas in an attack in March.
Churkin, said Russian experts gathered evidence at the scene of the attack at Khan al-Assal near Aleppo.
The envoy told reporters the Russian inquiry had “established” that opposition forces had fired a “Bashar 3” missile at the town, killing 26 people, including 16 Syrian troops.
Footage posted on Tuesday shows extensive destruction to residential buildings on Khader Mosque Street in Aleppo’s Saleheddine neighborhood.
In a statement on Facebook, a group claiming to be a brigade of the Free Syrian Army has said it carried out this morning’s car bomb in a Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut:
— samer (@samersniper) July 9, 2013
In the statement, the “313 Brigade” claims responsibility for earlier bombings of Hezballah in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. It says today’s explosion was in retaliation for Hezballah’s participation in a Syrian regime offensive in Homs, claiming also that the Lebanese State assists the organization.
(Cross-posted from Middle East Today)
Shelling next to the 12th-century Khalid Ibn al-Walid Mosque in the Khalidiya section of Homs:
While talk of the US supplying weapons to “selected” insurgent groups in Syria has died down, there have been a number of amateur videos showing insurgents using home-made weapons. This footage, from Damascus’s Jobar neighborhood, shows insurgents making home-made smoke bombs.
A Hezbollah commander has told McClatchy News Service that the Lebanese organization is only providing “elite” forces to the Syrian regime’s campaign to establish full control of Homs.
The commander said Hezbollah was also sending communication technicians and snipers in support of the weeks-long effort by the Syrian military to clear out insurgents.
The commander contrasted the effort with Hezbollah’s prominent place, with ground forces, in the regime re-capture of Qusayr in June:
Hezbollah is not in Homs like we were in Qusayr. Because Qusayr is along the Lebanese border and has many Shiite villages nearby, we took this as a mission that we could do. But the Syrian army doesn’t need Hezbollah to fight in large numbers on the ground in most battles.
A striking report from Al Jazeera English on how the Islamic State of Iraq has taken control of al-Dana, a town near the Turkish border, after defeating other insurgent groups — the video also highlights the ISI’s efforts to claim political and social legitimacy, winning over the local populace:
Insurgents moving through the al-Rashidin district of Aleppo after “liberation”:
Staged footage of opposition fighters helping locals displaced by the conflict:
Claimed footage of the rescue of a man injured by regime gunfire in Ariha in Idlib Province:
The Local Coordination Committees claim 60 people were killed on Monday, including 21 in Damascus and its suburbs, 13 in Aleppo Province, and 13 in Hama Province.
The Violations Documentation Center reports that 65,719 people have been slain since the start of the conflict in March 2011, an increase of 72 since Monday. Of these, 50,219 were civilians, a rise of 37 from yesterday.