LATEST: Insurgents: Saudi-Supplied Anti-Tank Missiles Boost Fight in South

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On Wednesday, we noted that the opposition Syrian National Coalition has put out a lengthy report, “Ramadan: A Month of Victories”.

Even allowing for the propaganda element — not only vs. the Assad regime but for the position of the Coalition and Free Syrian Army vs. other factions in the opposition and insurgency — the list is impressive.

Of course, there is the capture of the Menagh Airbase in Aleppo Province and the Lattakia offensive, both of which we have analysed, but there are also successful operations near Damascus amid the “dynamic stalemate” in the suburbs, including the capture of large stocks of weapons like anti-tank missiles. And there are the advances of opposition fighters from Deir Ez Zor Province in the northeast to Hama Province in central Syria to Daraa Province in the south.

Unintentionally, EA’s Syria Today on Wednesday paralleled the report — from “Insurgent Explosions in Al-Hamidiyyah Army Base in Idlib Province” to the insurgency’s operations in Deir Ez Zor city to “Insurgents Attack Air Force Intelligence Building, Daraa, With Mortars” to “Insurgents Attack Brick Factory (Qarmeed) Base In Idlib Province”.

A Technical Services Building in Deir Ez Zor captured by insurgents:

Still, the unanswered question — for now — do all these operations and individual victories add up to a lasting and conclusive shift in the balance of the conflict with the regime?

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Insurgents: Saudi-Supplied Anti-Tank Missiles Boost Fight in South

Free Syrian Army insurgents are putting out the line that newly-acquired anti-tank guided missiles from Saudi Arabia have been significant in recent successes in the south.

Several Russian-designed Konkurs anti-tank weapons were used in an attack this week on regime positions in Deraa city near the Jordanian border, and they fired around Laja, an insurgent stronghold in the region stretching north to the outskirts of Damascus.

According to Reuters, the Saudi-financed missile shipments arrived in the last few weeks through Jordan after months of quiet Saudi pressure to prod Amman to open a supply route — and amid US reluctance over the open supply of heavy arms.

The Reuters account parallels PR interviews from Free Syrian Army officers with Michael Weiss — including one of the sources used by Reuters — portraying improving command and organization, as well as weapons, and stressing the FSA’s supremacy over Islamist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra.

More On The Fight Between Free Syrian Army And ISIS In Raqqa

Lebanon’s Daily Star offers more on the fight between the FSA and Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham in Raqqa.

The Star reports that ISIS insurgents fought with the FSA’s Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade on Wednesday, driving them out of Raqqa.

ISIS detonated a car bomb early on Wednesday at Raqqa’s main train station, which killed Rasoul commanders Abu Mazen and Fahd Hussein al-Kajwan, after which Rasoul fighters clashed with ISIS at the brigade’s headquarters. Wen ISIS overran the headquarters, most of Rasoul’s fighters withdrew to Turkey.

Alongside the fighting between ISIS and the FSA, civilians in Raqqa have demonstrated against the Islamist group, complaining that ISIS is not providing adequate public services. This footage from Wednesday claims to show civilians being fired on at a demonstration asking for ISIS to provide ambulances:

However, a local source, Abu Abdul Rahman Al-Raqqawi, said the situation was more complex than an anti-ISIS front among residents:

ISIS enjoys both support and opposition here. It had an important role in the battles in Raqqa and its province and a big role in bringing security and safety in the governorate….

Some are supporting the withdrawal of the [Ahfad al-] Rasoul from the city, and some are supporting the withdrawal of ISIS from the city. Others just want both of them out. The protests that took place two weeks ago were not against ISIS but against the two factions that have not stopped fighting each other….

ISIS holds thieves, kidnappers and those that cause trouble in the markets accountable….They also hold accountable the brigades that steal.

There are members from outside Syria, like Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey [in ISIS] but their morals are better from those who are [Syrian]: the way they treat people, their courage, and the religious lessons they give at the centers and mosques.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Video: FSA Convoy Heads From Deir Ez Zor To Damascus

Claimed footage from Thursday of a convoy of FSA fighters traveling from Deir Ez Zor to Damascus with weapons including large Improvised Explosive Devices:

Activists Report That Father Paolo, Who Disappeared In Raqqa, Is Alive

Activists on Twitter have reported that Father Paolo Dell’Oglio, the Jesuit priest who disappeared in Raqqa on July 26 and was presumed kidnapped by Islamist faction the Islamic State of Iraq and As-Sham, is alive:

Reports say that Father Paolo — who has previously spoken out against the Assad regime — went to Raqqa two weeks ago to open interfaith dialog. He wrote on his personal Facebook page that he felt “happy for being in a liberated city, and for being so warmly welcomed. People here move about freely and in peace. I hope that that will be possible everywhere in Syria.”

Since his disappearance, there have been various reports of his fate, with activists saying that he was detained by ISIS after agreeing to meet with some of the group’s members.

Video: A Tour of Besieged Homs

Activist Abdullah al-Homsi [“Abdullah From Homs”] filed this 19 minute tour of besieged Homs during Ramadan, to show the extent of the damage caused to the city.

Abdullah is accompanied by a group of Free Syrian Army insurgents, who are patrolling the area and who show him various locations, including the Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque in Homs’ Al Khalidiya neighborhood.

The mosque, a historic Islamic landmark, became a symbol of the fight for Homs, when regime forces targeted it with heavy shelling over the past months. The damage to the mosque became so extensive that activists inside and outside Syria called on the international community to act.

When regime forces managed — temporarily at first — to overrun the mosque last month, it was noticeable that they sent State media reporters into the mosque to grab a few seconds of footage.

Abdullah shows the extent of the damage — in fact, destruction, caused to the mosque, which is still recognizable as the landmark it once was but is mostly now piles and piles of rubble.

Video: Regime Bombard Insurgent-Held Al Hawiqah, Deir Ez Zor

Regime forces on Thursday are bombarding the insurgent-held Al Hawiqah neighborhood of Deir Ez Zor, apparently after having made no headway in a push to take back the area, captured by insurgents last weekend.

Videos: Ahrar As-Sham Video Report On Eid Aid Activities

Islamist faction Harakat Ahrar As-Sham have produced this video report of relief activities on Eid al-Fitr, which include giving children gifts of dolls, toys and sweets:

Videos: Insurgents Fight PKK In Aleppo Province

Islamist insurgents — though it is not clear from which faction — fighting members of the Kurdish PKK in Aleppo Province (see screenshot of map for location).

The Kurdish forces are hiding out in this abandoned farmhouse:

Insurgents demolish the outer wall of the farm compound with BMP:

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Videos: In Aleppo, The Movement Of Islamic Renaissance And Justice Target Regime

Footage from Aleppo showing the Islamist faction The Movement Of Islamic Renaissance And Justice targeting regime forces.

Here the group give a statement explaining their intent to target regime forces and wage jihad:

Making mortar shells:

Using the mortars to attack regime targets in the City Council and the al-Amir Hotel:

Video: In Deir Ez Zor, Regime Target Key Bridge

The regime continues on Thursday to try to push back against insurgent gains in Deir Ez Zor, including with airstrikes on the city.

Regime forces have also targeted the Siyasiyeh Bridge which crosses the Euphrates river into the Al Uthmaniyah neighborhood, the adjacent district to the insurgent-held district of Al Hawiqah.

The bridge is important to the insurgents, as it is used by insurgent snipers who can target and pick off regime forces as they try to cross into Al Hawiqah. A parallel bridge that crosses directly into Al Hawiqah has already been destroyed, making the Siyasiyeh Bridge the only way for supplies and fighters to cross from the northern bank of the Euphrates into the neighborhood.

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Meanwhile, fierce fighting continues inside Al Hawiqah, as this video from Thursday morning shows:

Video: Ahrar Al-Sham Brigade Target Regime In Aramo, Isterba, In Lattakia

Claimed footage of insurgents from the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade targeting regime forces with rockets — presumably from a captured regime weapons cache — in Aramo and Isterba in Lattakia Province. The insurgency had previously captured Aramo and Isterba villages.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 8.31.25 AM

Meanwhile, the regime continued to use airstrikes to target insurgents in the area. This video from Wednesday shows a regime airstrike on Durin, which is under insurgent control:

Regime Attempts To Show Strength, Control In Lattakia

As the insurgent offensive in Lattakia continues, the regime has stepped up its efforts to show it is in military and governmental control of the province,

On Wednesday, the regime dispatched its Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi, to inspect army units in Slenfeh district in the Lattakia countryside.

SANA reported that al-Zoubi “inspected the operations carried out against the armed terrorist groups which wreaked havoc in the area and attacked citizens”.


The Local Coordination Committees claim 60 people were killed on Wednesday, including 18 in Aleppo Province, 12 in Damascus and its suburbs, and 11 in Idlib Province.

The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 69,537 since the start of the conflict, a rise of 103 since Wednesday. Of these, 52,540 are civilians, an increase of 59 from yesterday.