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SUMMARY: Syrian forces continue an offensive to claim towns and villages south and south-west of Damascus, opening up the route to Daraa Province and the border with Jordan.

The regime, which since its chemical weapons attacks of August 21 has increased its use of air strikes — including extensive use of explosive barrel bombs — artillery and tank fire to bombard towns and villages in the Damascus countryside, has also ramped up its propaganda campaign around the offensives. State News agency SANA headlines this morning with, “Successful Operation in Towns in Damascus Countryside over 40 Hours”.

SANA claims the Syrian Arab Army is “clearing” Az Zyabeyeh and Al Husseiniyah, dismantling explosives and arresting “many terrorists”. It explains that pro-regime forces is “tightening the grip” on the towns of Hijjeira and Al Buwaida.

The site also carries the claim, reported earlier this week by EA, that the Syrian military now controls Sheikh Omar, between Az Zyabeyeh and Al Buwaida.

Map showing location of Al Husseiniyah and Az Zyabeyeh in south Damascus:

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Footage from Friday shows massive destruction in Al Buwaida as a result of regime surface to surface missiles:

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Reports Of Insurgents Using Anti-Aircraft Weapons In Daraa, Amid MiG Strikes Across the City

Regime warplanes on Saturday are targeting the Palestinian refugee camp in Daraa city, the adjacent Al Mahata neighborhood, and Daraa Al Balad, with activists filming massive explosions in the districts.

Citizen journalists from the Shaam News Network are reporting that insurgents in Al Mahata are using anti-aircraft weapons to target regime forces. While footage of the weapons has yet to emerge, if corroborated the reports could point to fresh weapons supplies being sent across the Jordan border into Daraa, following the insurgent capture of the Daraa-Ramtha border crossing.

Screenshot from Wikimapia shows the locations of Daraa Al Balad, the Palestinian camp and Al Mahata:

daraa al balad

Footage of MiG strikes on the Palestinian camp:

Strikes in Al Mahata:

Massive strikes in Daraa Al Balad:

Mortars Hit Near Damascus Hotel Hosting Inspectors, Girl Killed

Two mortar shells hit central Damascus on Saturday, near a hotel where chemical weapons inspectors and United Nations staff are staying.

An 8-year-old girl was killed and 11 people were hurt in the blasts in the Abu Roumaneh area, State News agency SANA said.

The blasts struck about 300 meters from the Four Seasons Hotel, which remained open after the incident. One shell fell near a school and the other on the roof of a building.

Syrian insurgents routinely fire mortar shells from the outskirts of Damascus at areas in the capital.

Jaish Al Islam Stationed In Zamalka After FSA Took The Area

Footage from Saturday shows insurgents from the Jaish Al Islam stationed near residential buildings in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka, following claims that the Free Syrian Army overran the area.

Tribal Leaders From Aleppo Province Swear Oath To Islamic State of Iraq

A new propaganda video by the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash Sham claims to show tribal leaders in Aleppo Province giving hospitality and swearing an oath to them.

Footage Shows Barrel Bomb Dropped On As-Safira, Aleppo

Footage from Friday shows a barrel bomb dropped by regime forces on As-Safira, Aleppo. Home-made barrel bombs — regular barrels packed with oil, explosives and shrapnel — are far cheaper than standard munitions but cause extensive damage to people and property over a wide area. (Barrel bombs are considered conventional weapons.)

Heavy Shelling in Moadamiyyat Ash Sham

The regime is maintaining its fierce shelling of the West Ghouta town of Moadamiyyat Ash Sham, the site of one of the August 21 chemical weapons attacks.

Read EA’s reporting, with first-hand accounts from residents, on the increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in Moadamiyyat Ash Sham here.

Eyewitness Talks Of Abuses In Aleppo Central Prison (English)

An eyewitness recalls conditions in the regime-controlled Aleppo Central Prison.

The witness testifies that when the Free Syrian Army attempts to besiege the prison, the regime shells the prison dormitories. Since there are 40 prisoners per cell, tank shells can kill up to 25 prisoners.

The witness further testifies that if the regime prison guards suspect that a prisoner has connections to the Free Syrian Army, it will execute that prisoner.

The witness says that the regime confiscates food aid delivered by the Red Crescent for prisoners, and gives it to prison guards who eat it during sieges.

Insurgents In Bosra Ash Sham, Daraa Set Off Explosion In Regime Base

Citizen journalists in Daraa Province are reporting that insurgents in Bosra Ash Sham in Daraa Province have set off an explosion in building used as a regime base, killing and wounding several regime soldiers.

Earlier on Saturday, locals in Bosra reported a huge explosion in the southern part of the town.

Bosra is east of Daraa City in the Syria-Jordan border region. Control of the border region by insurgents will make it easier for them to obtain supplies across the Jordanian frontier.

Footage from Friday shows insurgents from the al-Murabitun (“one who is ready for battle at a fortress”) Brigade firing mortars on pro-regime forces in Bosra:

Houses Burn In Tafas, Daraa Province Amid Regime Shelling,.Airstrikes

As fierce clashes continue in Tafas, north of Daraa City, houses burn as a result of heavy regime shelling on Friday:

Air strikes on the town on Saturday: