LATEST: Fighting Continues Between Kurdish Militia and Insurgents
Heavy fighting continued on Sunday inside Deir Ez Zor, Syria’s seventh-largest city. Insurgents tried to hold the al-Hawiqah district, which they took on Saturday, amid regime shelling. Video showed captured regime militia being questioned by the opposition after their capture.
A regime strike on al-Haqiwah on Sunday:
See also our separate video feature, updated throughout Monday, of the fighting in Deir Ez Zor.
The insurgency controls almost all of the northeastern Syrian countryside and has put pressure on the Syrian forces inside the city for several months. However, opposition fighters have never been able to establish a lasting foothold in Deir Ez Zor.
State news agency SANA says nothing about the insurgents’ takeover of al-Hawiqah and instead portrays the success of military operations in several areas of the city: “[An] army unit destroyed a terrorists’ gathering along with the weapons and ammunition inside it in al-Hweiqa neighborhood in the city and killed a number of terrorists.”
(FEATURED PHOTO: Claimed image of regime forces inside Deir Ez-Zor)
Perhaps one of the strangest activist propaganda videos we’ve seen — the footage shows a new arrival in the village of Salma, in Latakia Province, recently captured by insurgents, where the Mujahideen have helped an Alawaite woman give birth to a baby boy.
Another video of the head of the Supreme Military Council, Salim Idriss during his Sunday visit to Latakia Province. This video shows Idriss paying a visit to the commander of the Falcons of the Coast Brigade, Saeed Tarbush:
Footage from Sunday shows an insurgent claim that Hezbollah fighters assisted regime forces in the village of Bayt al-Shakuhi in Latakia Province, before being defeated by the insurgents.
On August 6, State news agency SANA reported that the regime had recaptured Bayt al-Shakuhi together with Aramo, Istreba, Talla and Kafraya.
This video, also from Sunday, shows more of the ongoing fighting in Bayt al-Shakuhi and Talla, with insurgents firing heavy machine guns at Bayt al-Shakuhi:
Also from Sunday: the Adiyat Brigade of the FSA attacking regime forces from the military observatory at Talla, using a captured regime tank:
The Kurdish political movement PYD claims continuing fighting between its YPG militia and the insurgent faction Jabhat al-Nusra:
— PYD (@pydinfo) August 12, 2013
YPG: 39 al Nusra and ISIS fighters killed in Tirbespiye (al Qahtaniye) and Efrin the last 2 days. 2 YPG members killed. #TwitterKurds
— PYD (@pydinfo) August 11, 2013
Activist footage of the Al Khalidiyeh neighborhood of Homs showed destruction and burning as a result of ongoing regime bombardment. Activists say the regime is shelling homes.
Video: Second Regime Airstrike On Salma, Latakia Province
A regime warplane struck targets in the insurgent-held village of Salma in Latakia Province on Monday, as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad continued to push back against an insurgent offensive in the area:
United Nations chemical weapons experts have postponed their trip to Syria until further notice because of “technical hitches”, UN sources said Sunday.
The team of about 10 experts, headed by Swedish professor Ake Sellstrom, was set to embark Monday on a two-week trip to investigate three alleged sites of chemical attacks”.
A source said the team “would rather postpone the visit to Damascus for a while….They will notify the Syrians when they are ready to head to the country,” one source said on condition his name would not be used.”
The Syrian regime had held out since April against inspections of all but one site, but Sellstrom and Kane reached an agreement earlier this month for visits to the three locations, including Khan al-Assal in Aleppo Province.
The mainstream FSA Nur Al Din Al Zanki Brigade has released a ‘promo’ video — a trend among insurgent groups, though particularly the Islamist factions — showing off its fighting prowess and expressing its vision and ideology. It is notable that the brigade appears to have foreign-supplied weapons including what are possibly Chinese HJ-8 anti-tank missiles (see 0:43):
British aid to the insurgency to date has been about £8 million ($12.5 million) of “non-lethal” assistance, according to “official papers” in a report from The Independent:
Five 4×4 vehicles with ballistic protection; 20 sets of body armour; four trucks (three 25 tonne, one 20 tonne); six 4×4 SUVs; five non-armoured pick-ups; one recovery vehicle; four fork-lifts; three advanced “resilience kits” for region hubs, designed to rescue people in emergencies; 130 solar powered batteries; around 400 radios; water purification and rubbish collection kits; laptops; VSATs (small satellite systems for data communications) and printers….
The site reports that the latest aid of £555,000 worth of counter-chemical warfare equipment, announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague last week, is on standby.
The papers do not give any evidence of supply of weapons from London to the opposition fighters.
Fierce fighting between insurgents and regime forces in the Al Hawiqa neighborhood of Deir Ez Zor continued on Monday. This footage shows insurgents using shoulder-fired mortars — likely captured from a regime weapons cache — to attack regime forces in the area:
Several videos show insurgents engaged in house-to-house combat in the city, including in Al Hawiqa:
This video, from Sunday, shows an insurgent tank in al-Hawiqa:
A trailer, purportedly by the Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham, for a longer video showing off the faction’s role in the battle to take over the Menagh Airbase:
General Salem Idriss, the head of the Supreme Military Council and Free Syrian Army forces, was in northern Lattakia Province on Sunday to review the state of the insurgent offensive:
Idriss, in the Kafr Dalba area of Jabal al-Akrad, said he was in the area to “look into the reality of the important successes and victories that our revolutionary brothers have achieved on the coastal front”.
He added, “We are here today to reassure everybody that the… (FSA) General Command is coordinating completely and continuously with the leaders of the coastal front.”
On the ninth day of the insurgent offensive in northern Lattakia province in western Syria, State news agency SANA claims that regime forces have re-captured three villages, killing and injuring “terrorists” and destroying “heavy machineguns, anti-aircraft guns, and missile pads”.
SANA asserts that nine villages have now been re-occupied by the Syrian forces after insurgents pushed deep into the province last week.
The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 69,251 since the start of the conflict, a rise of 102 since Sunday. Of these, 52,384 are civilians, an increase of 65 from yesterday.