LATEST: Video — Deadly Airstrike in Idlib Province
Less than a week after the regime claimed a notable victory in Homs, the military balance shifted on Sunday with a major insurgent offensive in Lattakia Province in western Syria, seen as one of the key sites of President Assad’s authority.
In a co-ordinated assault, multiple brigades — including the leading factions Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham — attacked regime positions throughout the northern part of the province. Video testified to the seizure of high points in the mountains, while the insurgents claimed they had taken five observation posts and four villages as well as tanks and armored vehicles.
Insurgents move past a regime tank and artillery shells at an abandoned observation post:
The Syrian Islamic Front’s Kataib Ansar al-Sham seize a strategic high point on Sunday:
Footage of a Russian-made Konkurs anti-tank missile hitting a regime armored vehicle:
Although dramatic in its publicity and some of the claims, the attack only now poses serious questions. Is this more than a display — after the Homs setback and amid the stalemate over Syria’s largest city Aleppo — of insurgent power? Can the opposition forces move on the city of Lattakia, posing a significant threat tipping the state of the conflict?
Our previous update offered a small glimpse into the Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan. This footage from Monday shows how a charitable organization is helping to feed Syrian refugees in Reyhanli, Turkey:
A video report shot by UNHCR shows how a refugee Imam is helping provide religious courses for Syrians in the Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan this Ramadan.
Claimed footage of the aftermath of an air strike on Balyoun in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Idlib — activists claim up to 18 fatalities:
Homs: Regime Shells Qarabis, Al-Wa’er and Claims It Has “Restored Stability” — Defense Minister Finds Time For Photo-Op In Khalidiyeh
Regime forces continued to shell areas of Homs on Monday, while using State media to continue to push the line that the regime is in control of the situation in the city and has made gains in key areas.
This entry is now posted as a separate feature.
Syria watchers are used to seeing videos and images of brigades and fighting, but the individual stories behind the insurgency are often less known.
Activists on Monday posted this image of one fighter, Nader al-Hariri from Daraa, who they say lost both his arms in the fighting several months ago, but nevertheless decided to continue fighting the Assad regime, after modifying his gun so he is still able to shoot it.
A video posted on Monday claims to show footage of a Free Syrian Army’s Tawhid Brigade convoy heading to Homs to provide support for insurgents in the city.
A longer version of the video:
In May, the Tawhid Brigade sent fighters to support insurgents Al Qusayr before it fell to regime and Hezbollah forces.
More footage from the fighting near the regime’s Mennegh airbase in Aleppo Province, with insurgents hiding in manholes and trenches from the Syrian military’s fire:
In the ongoing propaganda battle over provision of food and services, the Syrian Presidency has circulated pictures of the President’s wife, Asma Assad, helping distributed Iftar meals to orphans in Damascus.
Claimed footage from Al Sheikh Saeed at the southern entrance to Aleppo shows insurgents targeting pro-regime militias — which they name as “Shabiha, Hezbollah and Iranians” — with a captured tank.
Human Rights Watch has again criticized the regime for the firing of ballistic missiles that have caused large numbers of civilian deaths, including those of many children.
The organization investigated nine recent incidents between February and July that killed at least 215 civilians, identified by residents, including 100 children. It visited seven of the sites.
The latest attack examined by Human Rights Watch was a strike in Aleppo Province on July 26 that killed at least 33 civilians, including 17 children.
HRW found “no apparent military targets in the vicinity of seven of the nine attacks”. In two cases there were nearby military objectives that may have been the intended targets, but these were not struck.
Claimed footage has been posted of an Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham “martyrdom operation” — a suicide car bombing — on the regime’s Mennegh airbase near Aleppo.
Insurgents have laid siege to the base, one of the Syrian military’s last major positions in Aleppo Province, for months.
Activists report on Twitter that the explosive was placed in a BMP armored vehicle which charged the base.
An EA correspondent writes, “It seems the bomb exploded far away from the buildings, like the last one. But there are developments in favor of the rebels.”
More footage of the attack on the airbase:
Claimed footage of Liwa al-Islam tank convoy in Damascus province. It is noticeable that all the tanks in the convoy display only the faction’s flag, without a single FSA flag.
Ahrar al-Sham, the leading insurgent brigade, promotes its provision of takeaway meals for Ramadan in insurgent-held areas of Aleppo:
More on Sunday’s featured item of Syrian praise for its ally Iran….
State media continue to highlight Damascus’ diplomatic offensive during the visit of Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi for the inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
State news agency SANA features a message from President Assad to Rouhani “on boosting the strategic relations between the two countries in all fields and the joint will to confront the western and U.S. plots and tools in the region which are aimed at undermining the axis of resistance”.
Rouhani’s supposed reply?
He condemned foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs and stressed that the Iranian-Syrian alliance in all fields which is based on firm grounds is aimed at maintaining stability in the region and supporting the just causes of its peoples, in addition to achieving comprehensive development in the two friendly countries.
The Iranian President said what is happening in Syria is a failed attempt to undermine the axis of resistance and steadfastness against the Zionist and U.S. plots in the region through supporting terrorism and Takfiris.
State news agency SANA’s daily round-up of military successes against “terrorists” has not one word on developments in Lattakia on Sunday.
The Local Coordination Committees claim 100 people were killed on Sunday, including 34 in Damascus and its suburbs, 14 in Idlib Province, 14 in Lattakia Province, and 11 in Daraa Province.
The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 68,555 since the start of the conflict, a rise of 130 since Saturday. Of these, 51,995 are civilians, an increase of 70 from yesterday.