LATEST: Video: Maaloula Nuns — We Were Safely Evacuated, Treated Well by Insurgents
Activists Claim Regime Killed 40+ Residents of Nabk in Damascus Province

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Following claims on Thursday that regime forces have used chemical agents against civilians in Nabk in Damascus province, the Qalamoun Media Center report that medics in the town are attempting to get samples from the suspected chemical victims out for analysis.

The Media Center says that the samples consist of blood, urine, hair, and clothing from those affected, plus soil samples from the affected area. The samples are fully documented.

Video, with a doctor’s testimony, of one of the victims:

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Video: Maaloula Nuns — We Were Safely Evacuated, Treated Well by Insurgents

Nuns from the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, shown on Al Jazeera Arabic, have said they were safely evacuated by insurgents amid regime shelling.

The nuns denied allegations of abuse and kidnapping by opposition fighters.

Pro-regime media declared that the 12 nuns and three assistants were abducted after insurgents reached the center of Maaloula, which they also briefly occupied in September.

Opposition activists countered that the fighters were protecting the nuns as the regime bombarded Maaloula —.subsequent reports said the nuns had been taken to the town of Yabroud.

The nuns said they had been treated well and hoped to return to Maaloula within 48 hours.

Activists Claim Regime Killed 40+ Residents of Nabk in Damascus Province

Hours after claims that chemical weapons killed at least seven people in Nabk, north of Damascus, activists say there has been a mass killing of residents, including many women, children, and elderly, in the town.

The Qalamoun Media Center, citing survivors who made it to opposition-held areas of Nabk, blames a pro-regime Iraqi militia for the deaths of at least 40 people.

The activists claim that evidence will be sparse, as they were not able to reach the scene and Assad forces have cut all communications.

US Asks Insurgents To Lift Block of Damascus-to-Homs Highway For Sake of Chemical Weapons Plan

EA sources report that the US has asked both the Supreme Military Council and the Islamic Front for a lifting of the blockade of the Damascus-to-Homs highway by insurgents.

Washington has made the request so the Assad regime can transport chemical weapons components to the port of Latakia, where they would be loaded onto a United Nations ship. Damascus faces a year-end deadline to complete the removal.

Our projection, based on sources, is that the US likely received this response from the insurgents: “Sod off.”

Video: The Destruction in Moadamiyyat Ash Sham

A brief clip of the devastation in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyyat Ash Sham, which has endured more than a year of attacks and siege by regime forces:

Head of Supreme Military Command Denies Accepting Assad’s Stay in Power For “Peace” Conference

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has posted a statement by General Salim Idriss, the head of the Supreme Military Command, denying his acceptance of a Geneva “peace” conference with President Assad remaining in power.

Idriss was quoted widely this week as saying that the precondition of Assad stepping aside, which has been maintained by the opposition for months, did not have to be met.

In the Coalition post, Idriss says, “Assad’s removal is one of the revolution’s recognized facts”.

Coalition spokesman Louay Safi, the spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, said, “The negotiations will be about a transitional process and the departure of Assad and his associates.”

State Media: 6 Killed by Car Bomb in Qamishli

State news agency SANA reports six civilians were killed Friday by a car bomb in the largely-Kurdish city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria.

A source at the Police Command of Hasaka Province told SANA that a suicide bomber blew up a car carrying hay in a densely-populated area.

The site says 30 people are injured, many of them critically.

Videos: Friday’s Protest in Kafranbel in Idlib Province Sends A Message to US

The people of Kafranbel, known for their Friday protests, have a message for Americans today:

Refugees Fleeing Regime Offensive In Qalamoun Face Hardship

Thousands of new refugees, fleeing the regime’s offensive in the Qalamoun region, face hardship in their attempts to get to eastern Lebanon — and, even if they are successful, in overcrowded camps.

At least 7500 civilians, including 1000 children, have left Qalamoun in the past three days amid continuing bombardment. Many more are still trapped in the town of al-Nabk, attacked by Syrian forces since the offensive began in late November.

The flight to Lebanon is hampered by a 25-kilometer barrier erected by Lebanese armed forces to limit cross-border movement.

And in the main camp in Arsal, EA sources talk of overcrowding and “children…dying from the cold, hunger, and lack of medication”.


(Image: Children in Arsal)

Activists are calling for the intervention of the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, in camps in Jordan, refugees are trying to cope with floods

Regime Media Denies Deadly Chemical Attack on Nabk in Damascus Province

State news agency SANA, citing “a media source”, has denied claims that civilians were killed in the regime’s Qalamoun offensive by chemical toxins.

Activists, supported by video and a doctor’s testimony, said on Thursday that at least 7 people had been killed by chemical poisoning in Nabk, a town near the vital Damascus-to-Homs highway.

See Thursday’s report and analysis

SANA’s source declared, “As usual, media’s bloody channels talk about using poisonous gas in al-Nabk, Damascus countryside, and this is categorically untrue, baseless, and an attempt by these channels to justify the defeats of the terrorist groups [by] the Syrian Arab army.”