LATEST: What is the Situation at the Yaroubiyeh Crossing on Iraq Border?
SUMMARY: After weeks of fighting, insurgents took full control of Tafas, north of Dar’aa city, in southern Syria on Saturday.
Clashes had been intense, especially around a regime barracks on the eastern edge of the town. On Friday, insurgents had captured an important checkpoint, leading to the final attack on the barracks.
BMP captured by insurgents after the capture of the barracks:
The opposition Shaam News Network details the significance of the victory:
The liberation of this city is significant for several reasons. First, it cripples the daily regime shelling on the city and surrounding villages.
Second, it cuts off a key route used by Assad forces between the city of Nawa and Dar’aa (the capital of the province).
Third, residents who own farms and fields around the city can now return to their lands without worrying about Assad occupation.
Fourth, and quite important, is that regime forces stationed at Atableen Checkpoint had previously overtaken the single working bakery in the area, meaning residents could not have access to the key food staple in Syria – bread. This liberation means a key food stuff will now be more readily available.
Finally, residents can now freely go to the eastern quarter of the city, which they previously couldn’t access because of daily Assad regime shelling.
Attention may now turn to Dar’aa, where the Syrian uprising began in March 2011. Last month, insurgents captured the old post on the Jordanian border to the south of the city, assisting the supply of weapons and personnel to the fight. Now the regime forces in Dar’aa are also cut off to the north.
Celebrations in Tafas after its capture:
Latest Updates, Most Recent First
What is the Situation at the Yaroubiyeh Crossing on Iraq Border?
All weekend dramatic and often confusing reports have swirled about the state of the Yaroubiyeh crossing on the Iraqi border, taken by insurgents this spring.
The Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham has controlled the crossing, but reports indicated they were being challenged by Kurdish factions, notably the YPG militia of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Kurdish activists claimed on Saturday that the border post had been captured.
Alongside these claims were the assertion that the Iraqi army had shelled the post. The opposition Syrian National Coalition issued a statement on Sunday claiming that the Iraqis were attacking Free Syrian Army brigades.
An EA correspondent with excellent contacts in Syria helps explain the latest situation:
The Kurdish militia YPG has the crossing at the moment.
Iraqi artillery cannot distinguish between ISIS and Syrian fighters. And the Iraqis have no interest in doing so because both oppose Assad’s forces — and the YPG.
Ahrar al-Sham Claims 8 Prisoners Freed From Aleppo Central Prison
Islamist faction Harakat Ahrar al-Sham claimed on Saturday that they had managed to free eight prisoners from the regime-controlled Aleppo Central Prison, which they and other Islamist groups have been besieging and attacking over the past weeks.
Ahrar al-Sham said that its fighters continue to fight regime forces in areas of the prison, in a bid to release the remaining prisoners.
Ahrar al-Sham also claimed that the Syrian Red Crescent has delivered cooked food, bread, and vegetables to the prisoners.
Insurgents in Assaiyydeh Zainab Blow Up Hezbollah Building Amid Fierce Clashes
Footage from the southern Damascus neighborhood of Assaiyydeh Zainab on Sunday morning shows intense clashes between insurgents and Hezbollah fighters.
Insurgents claim to have blown up a building used as a base by Hezbollah:
After Fall Of Tafas, Regime Launches Fierce Assaults On Dar’aa City
The regime has launched a series of airstrikes on Dar’aa city, with six raids on the Tariq Assud and the Dar’aa Palestinian refugee camp areas.
Regime forces are also shelling the insurgent-held Dar’aa al-Balad neighborhood — where insurgents have captured the Old Customs Area and the Dar’aa-Ramtha border crossing. The regime has been bombarding Dar’aa city for weeks as part of a larger offensive in Dar’aa Province where insurgents have made several significant gains.
One of those gains has been the fall of the strategic town of Tafas to the north.
Brigades Involved In The Tafas Offensive
Activists in Tafas have listed the insurgent brigades involved in the offensive — dubbed the Battle of United Ranks — against the regime barracks and military housing on the eastern edge of the town, leading to its capture and the withdrawal of pro-Assad forces.
The brigades are named as:
Liwa Fajr al-Islam
Liwa Moataz Allah
Liwa Ahl as-Sunnah
Liwa Maghaweer Sahel al-Houran
Liwa Omar al-Mukhtar
Liwa ash-Shahid Ahmad al-Amar
Liwa Ahrar Houran
Kataiba Jund Allah
Kataiba Shahada Tafas al-Hundaseh
Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham
Kataiba Anwar al-Haqq
Kataiba ash-Shahid Captain Ali ar-Rifai
Harakat al-Muthanna al-Islamiyya
A group of brigades provided by Yasser al-Aboud (one of the most senior insurgent commanders in the south of Syria, killed on October 21 in the battle against the barracks in Tafas:
Liwa al-Muhajareen wal Ansar
Liwa Mohammad bin Abdullah
The Local Coordination Committees claim that 76 people were killed on Sunday, including 28 in Damascus and its suburbs and 18 in Aleppo Province.
The Violations Documentation Center records that 76,783 people have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011, an increase of 58 since Saturday. Of the dead, 57,106 are civilians, a rise of 32 from yesterday.