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After weeks of shelling, regime ground attacks have now re-claimed almost all of the key neighborhood of Khalidiya in Homs, Syria’s third city.

Local activists and an insurgent spokesman said on Monday that the Syrian military now held “95%” of the area. It includes the historic Khalid Ibn Walid mosque, which has become a symbol of the destruction of the conflict, but even more important is Khalidiya’s location — its capture means the regime has bisected remaining insurgent-held sections of Homs.

Attention now turns to if and when Syrian forces will re-occupy all of those sections.

Abu Rami al-Homsi, a spokesman for the Syrian Revolution General Command activist network in Homs, said defeat was inevitable with access cut from the rebel-held Old City to opposition strongholds in Qusour and Juret al-Shayah.

There have been no reinforcements for us to break this siege; there are no weapons to change the way of the battle. I think we might resist weeks or maybe a month, but not long. There’s no balance between the two sides.

Homsi continued:

A lot of members of the Free Syrian Army have been wounded now. Some of them are martyred; some are handicapped. There is a shortage of fighters and very little ammunition. We are very worried.

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Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade Deny Mass Killing In Khan al-Asal

The Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade on Tuesday issued a video statement denying that they had committed a mass killing of regime soldiers in Khan al-Asal in Aleppo Province.

EA reported on the alleged mass killing and abuse of regime soldiers on Sunday.

In the statement, the Brigade commander said that the dead bodies shown in the videos were regime soldiers who had died during the battle for Khan al-Asal, and not killed afterwards.

The bodies of the dead regime soldiers were collected and handed over to the Red Cross, while regime soldiers captured alive — including officers — were held prisoner by the Brigade, the statement said.

Deadly Airstrike on Anadan in Aleppo Province

Footage has been posted of the aftermath of a regime airstrike near Hamzah Abd Al-Muttaleb Mosque in Anadan in Aleppo Province. (WARNING: Graphic images of casualties).

Shot of smoke rising near the mosque after the attack:

Damage inside the mosque:

UN: We Could Not Get Aid to 600,000 Syrians in July

The United Nations’ World Food Program has said that 600,000 Syrians could not receive aid this month because of violence preventing convoys from reaching them.

WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said on Tuesday that the agency had aimed to reach a total of 3 million people in July, but had succeeded in getting supplies to only 2.4 million.

“Rising violence in many parts of Damascus and Homs, and a proliferation of checkpoints around the main cities have hit the flow of food distribution,” she said.

Senior Kurdish Politician Killed by Car Bomb

Wladmir Van Wilgenburg reports that Issa Hesso, a senior member of the Kurdish PYD movement, has been killed by a bomb attached to his car in Qamishli and will be buried today.

Public Relations Battle – Has Assad Joined Instagram?

In the latest round of the public relations battle surrounding the Syrian conflict, an account claiming to belong to President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on the popular online photo-sharing platform Instagram.

So far, the account shows pictures of Assad and his wife, Asma, “greeting loyal citizens, wiping the tears from children’s faces, and visiting the sick in hospital.”

Although it is unknown whether the account was created by someone inside Assad’s office, it has clearly been developed by an Assad supporter as part of the ongoing PR effort to project a positive image of the regime.

Video: Civilians, Including Child With Disabilities, Affected By Regime Shelling Of Nawa

Regime forces are continuing to shell the village of Nawa in Daraa Province, after insurgents took control of it earlier this month. There have been reports of extensive damage to civilian homes in the village, and also of religious sites including a number of mosques.

This harrowing video, uploaded by local activists on Tuesday, shows a young boy with disabilities who is terrified as a result of the ongoing shelling:

Update: Activists Say Father Paolo, The Italian Jesuit Priest Kidnapped In Raqqa, Is Safe

Activists on Twitter are reporting that Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest reported kidnapped in Raqqa, is now safe.

There have been rumors circulating that Father Paolo had not been kidnapped at all — but activists said the reports of the kidnapping were true and that the Jesuit priest had been released unharmed:

One main story emerging so far is that Father Paolo had wanted to talk to insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham and made an appointment to see them:

Claimed Footage Of Pro-Opposition Italian Jesuit Priest Speaking In Raqqa Before Alleged Kidnapping

This video, which claims to show the prominent pro-opposition Italian Jesuit priest, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, speaking in Raqqa on Sunday, prior to his alleged kidnapping. Reuters report that Dall’Oglio was taken by members of Islamist group The Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham as he walked in Raqqa.

Syrian authorities expelled Dall’Oglio from the country last year after he became increasingly outspoken about the Assad regime’s crackdown on the opposition. Dall’Oglio had served at a sixth-century monastery in the Anti-Lebanon mountains north of Damascus.

State Media Gives More Detail On Iran’s $3.6 Bln Credit Line To Syria

Syrian State media provided more details on Tuesday of the $3.6 billion line of credit that Iran has agreed to provide to Syria. As EA predicted, Iran has agreed to provide Syria with $3.6 billion in oil. SANA explains that the agreement involves Syria paying for the value of oil gas and petroleum products supplied from Iran, through Iranian investments in Syria “in various fields”.

SANA report that the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh and Governor of Iran’s Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani signed a banking agreement for the credit line.

On Monday SANA also reported on a Sunday meeting between Syria’s Petroleum Minister Sleiman al-Abbas, his Iranian counterpart Rustam Qasemi, Syrian Central Bank Governor Adib Mayyaleh and Syria’s Ambassador in Tehran Adnan Mahmoud, regarding the bilateral petroleum and gas deals.

SANA buries this, the most significant sentence of its report that meeting, under several paragraphs of warm words about Iran’s support for Syria: On the sideline of the meeting, the two sides signed a framework agreement on transporting Iranian gas to Syria via Iraq.

SANA also mentioned another credit line of $1 billion “to provide Syria’s needs of electricity, medical supplies and food.”

Turkey Fires Tear Gas To Disperse Fuel Smugglers Crossing From Syria

Turkish soldiers fired rounds into the air and also fired tear gas to disperse around 1,000 people attempting to smuggle fuel smugglers trying to cross into Turkey from Syria, the Turkish military said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The military said that there were no casualties in the incident, which occurred on Monday, and that the smugglers had thrown stones at military patrol vehicles tasked with closing the Turkish border at Ogulpinar in Hatay province. The smugglers failed to disperse after warnings in both Turkish and Arabic.

The military said it seized 6,000 liters of diesel following the incident.

What Happened to the Syrian Colonel Who Approached Insurgents, “We Are All Brothers”?

On Sunday, we posted video of a Syrian officer approaching insurgents in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, declaring, “We are all Syrians. We are all brothers.”

Since then, claims have circulated from both sides of the fate of the colonel — that he subsequently died in battle or, alternatively, that he was detained and killed by Syrian authorities for his gesture to the insurgency.

On Monday, Rifaie Tammas, an activist who was in Qusair before the town fell to the regime and a source considered reliable by a well-placed EA correspondent, told this story on Twitter:

Video: Kurdish Fighters Prepare To Attack Jabhat Al-Nusra Near Qamishli

As fighting continues between Islamist factions and Kurdish fighters in the predominantly Kurdish area near the Turkish border, claimed footage from Monday purports to show Kurdish militias preparing to attack Jabhat al=Nusra forces in the village of Haddad, just south of Qamishli.


The Local Coordination Committees claim 136 people were killed on Monday, including 54in Damascus and its suburbs, 25 in Homs Province, 19 in Aleppo Province, and 13 in Daraa Province.

The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 67,840 since the start of the conflict, a rise of 80 since Monday. Of these, 51,516 are civilians, an increase of 39 from yesterday.