Leading Insurgent Factions Form “Islamic Front”
Friday Protests: Kafranbel’s Children Join In The Demonstration
Insurgents Claim Control of Most of 17th Division Base in Raqqa Province
Regime Airstrikes in Qalamoun Offensive as Insurgents Block Damascus-to-Homs Road and Try to Retake Town of Qarah
Islamic State of Iraq Occupy Town of Atma on Turkish Border


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In a major re-alignment of the insurgency in Syria, leading factions have formed the Islamic Front.

Factions involved include the Ansar al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Suqoor al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam — itself a merger of more than 40 groups in Damascus Province — Liwa al-Tawhid, the Islamic Kurdish Front, and Liwa al-Haq.

Ahmed Abu Issa of Suqoor al-Sham and the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front has been named commander, with Abu Omar Hureitan of Liwa al-Tawhid as second-in-command and Zahran Alloush of Jaish al-Islam as head of military operations.

The official announcement:

Abu Issa talks about the formation of the Front on Al Jazeera Arabic:

Friday Protests: Kafranbel’s Children Join In The Demonstration

Some images from today’s Friday protests in Kafranbel, Idlib Province, which has become known for its provocative, English-language protest posters. This week’s protest themes include a challenge to the Syrian Diaspora, and a demonstration by the village’s children.




Insurgents Claim Control of Most of 17th Division Base in Raqqa Province

Insurgents claim they are nearing a major victory in their attack on the regime’s 17th Division base in Raqqa Province in northern Syria.

The opposition says it now has 70% of the base, which has been under assault for several days.

Regime Airstrikes in Qalamoun Offensive as Insurgents Block Damascus-to-Homs Road and Try to Retake Town of Qarah

Activists report regime airstrikes in an attempt to break an insurgent roadblock of the Damascus-to-Homs highway.

Last week Syrian forces launched an offensive in the Qalamoun region between the capital and the Lebanese border to the north and west. The military claims that it has taken Qarah, a town of 30,000 on the highway.

Opposition battalions declared on Thursday that the road connecting Qara and the town of Al-Qastal is still blocked, halting all traffic, after insurgents took control following fierce clashes have erupted during which rebels managed to take control over the route.

An EA correspondent summarizes:

Jaish al Islam blocks a section of the Damascus-Homs Highway (see map), whilst Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham started to retake Qara, which is now cut off with a halt of supplies for the regime forces.

The highway north of Qarah is not safe either. The rebels control all of the mountains. In theory, from their higher ground, they can kill reinforcements who try to enter the town from the plain in the east.

An opposition source said the outskirts and the western part of the town of al-Nabek have been subjected to at least nine airstrikes.

Earlier this week, a suicide bomber attacked a regime checkpoint near the town.

ISIS Claims To Have Occupied Town of Atma on Turkish Border

Reuters are reporting that activists have said that the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham has occupied the town of Atma on the Turkish border.

Some activists said ISIS moved into Atma, near a crossing point for weapons and fighters, after clashes between other insurgent groups in the town.

ISIS took over the headquarters of Suqur al-Islam, an Islamist faction which is part of the Free Syrian Army, and detained its head Mustafa Waddah and two dozen of his men.

There was a brief firefight at the headquarters and also near a Turkish security post in the town of Bukulmez, which overlooks Atma.

“(ISIS) deployed anti-aircraft guns at the main roundabout and took Atma quietly,” said one of the activists, “The Turks have not stopped supplies from crossing into the town and movement across the border fence is normal.”

An EA correspondent said that fighting had erupted between Suqur al-Islam and other Free Syrian Army units after Suqur al-Islam claimed seven trucks loaded with humanitarian aid sent by the General Staff of the FSA.

92 Killed Amid Regime’s Airstrikes

The Local Coordination Committees report that 92 people were killed on Thursday amid the regime’s continuing airstrikes on many areas of Syria.

The bombardment includes artillery and mortars as well as air-dropped explosives which include barrel bombs, large metal containers primed to detonate when they hit the ground.

Aftermath of a mortar strike on a square in the Inshaat section of Homs:

Dismantling a barrel bomb:

Of the 92 deaths, 33 were in Homs Province, 26 in Aleppo Province, and 14 in Damascus and its suburbs.

The Violations Documentation Center records 79,244 deaths since the start of the conflict in March 2011. Of the dead, 58,719 are civilians.