LATEST: Video — Protest in Bustan al-Qasr Section of Aleppo
IMAGE: Shelling in Homs on Thursday
Weeks after the supposed final regime offensive in Homs — and 16 months after it was supposedly cleared of opposition — the battle grinds on in Syria’s third-largest city. President Assad’s military continue to bombard areas such as Khalidiya in the hope of moving into them and re-establishing control.
A short clip of the devastated city:
State media, which last month were pronouncing that the endgame was near, are being more cautious now, writing of “ongoing military operations to restore security and stability to Homs city and combat the terrorism of the armed groups”.
A valued EA source says the insurgents are “in real trouble” — short of weapons and ammunition and facing the daily toll of attacks — in Homs.
However, he adds this telling note, given the stalemate in Syria’s largest city since July 2012, “And the Assad men in Aleppo are in real trouble as well.”
Footage of Friday demonstrations in Aleppo’s Tariq Al Bab neighborhood show locals flying the Jabhat al Nusra flag but not the Syrian opposition flag.
In late May, an activist group named Al Bab For All uploaded this video showing a meeting between Jabhat Al Nusra, the Ahrar As-Sham Brigades and other rebel brigades.
Elsewhere in Aleppo, including in the Sheikh Fares neighborhood, Syrian opposition flags were prevalent during Friday protests:
Local people wave opposition flags at a demonstration in Raqqa on Friday evening to express support for the city of Homs.
This poster from Kafr Nabl in Idlib province shows what locals think of events in Egypt compared with events in Syria:
Kafranbel on the Syrian and Egyptian army. pic.twitter.com/Na4EYvgtXR
— Omar (@omarsyria) July 5, 2013
Another poster from the town:
Kafranbel: "The announcing of every new revolutionary body reflects a weakness, an incurable disease." pic.twitter.com/gQrdsKU9RZ
— Omar (@omarsyria) July 5, 2013
The Syrian National Coalition claimed on Friday that members of the regime’s Air Force have physically assaulted women prisoners in the Damascus Central Prison. The Coalition cited sources in the prison who leaked the information. Earlier this week, the Coalition claimed that women prisoners declared a hunger strike, saying that their cases must be brought to court.
At the Friday protest in Binnish, Idlib Province, an activist shares a dish of home-made kibbeh in honor of the media activist from Jabhat al Nusra, Ibrahim Kabbani.
Footage of heavy Islamist presence at Friday protest in Azaz, north of Aleppo:
Both State and insurgent media on Friday report on the aftermath of heavy clashes in Deir Az Zor.
Amateur video uploaded by activists shows footage of buildings shelled by regime forces on Thursday.
This video, uploaded by local activists on Thursday, shows burning buildings following a rocket strike:
This video, posted on Friday, shows the aftermath of the shelling:
As the fighting raged on Thursday, this video shows a new battalion — the Ja’far Al Tayyar Battalion — which joined the Dera’a Al-Ansar Brigade. The battalion is named after one of the first Muslims, the son of Mohammad’s uncle, who carried the banner of Islam in the Battle of Mu’tah in 629.
State media outlet SANA reports on Friday that the regime made significant gains in Deir Az Zor’s Al Ummal and Al Hwaika neighborhoods in an overnight clash, killing and wounding large numbers of insurgents.
The death toll is unknown.
Turkish police last week raided offices of two humanitarian aid missions operating in Syria and deported four non-Turkish nationals, witnesses told AFP on Friday.
AFP cite a “source familiar with the humanitarian efforts in Syria” as saying that there were two separate cases in Antakya near the Syrian border in which police detained one Spanish, one German and two British aid workers and deported them.
“You’re aware of how difficult it is for humanitarians to operate in Syria, but we’re also coming under increasing pressure from the Turkish state,” the source told AFP on the phone.
“In one case last Wednesday an NGO staff member was forced off the road by unmarked police cars. Police caught him when he tried to run. His flat was searched. He was interrogated for hours and detained before being transferred to a counter-terrorism unit,” the source added.
As many as four million Syrians are unable to buy or produce sufficient food, according to a joint report by the World Food Program and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization published on Friday.
The report found that food production has slowed and prices are rising, making it increasingly difficult for Syrian families to meet their food needs.
The worsening food security situation is due to a number of factors, including massive population displacement, disruption of agricultural production, unemployment, economic sanctions, currency depreciation and high food and fuel prices.
In many parts of the country, the price of wheat flour more than doubled between 2011 and 2013, prompting WFP to begin distributing wheat flour with its monthly food ration.
Damage to farms and machinery together with the threat of violence and the soaring costs of raw materials have hampered food production across the country. Among the millions of people displaced by the conflict in Syria, many are farmers whose crops are likely to go unharvested, the report warns.
Wheat flour mills and bakeries have either closed or are operating far below their capacity. Sanctions have exacerbated the situation, leading to shortages of raw materials, fuel and spare parts.
Opposition activists in Babila, in the Damascus countryside, are providing medical training to young women from the town. Footage shows the young women learning how to operate stethoscopes and drips and give injections. With medical care and medicines severely disrupted by the conflict, field hospitals run by local activists are attempting to provide care to civilians as well as insurgents.
A regime airstrike on Rastan in Homs Province:
Residents search for victims under rubble:
Images from Tuesday night of clashes in Jobar in northeast Damascus, where regime forces have battled insurgents for weeks:
The opposition Syrian National Coalition has appealed to the United Nations, its affiliated organizations, and the Friends of Syria group to “intervene immediately to provide humanitarian access” into besieged areas of Dara’a and Homs.
The Coalition says areas under bombardment were suffering “an urgent shortage of medicine and staple foods”, while many people had been killed in shelling in Daraa in the south.
The Local Coordination Committees claim 68 people were killed on Thursday, including 29 in Damascus and its suburbs and 18 in Aleppo Province.
The Violations Documentation Center reports that 65,478 people have been slain since the start of the conflict in March 2011, an increase of 104 since Thursday. Of these, 50,103 were civilians, a rise of 52 from yesterday.