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A story from the town of Adra, 12 miles north of Damascus, capturing the confusion, information & propaganda, and tragedy of Syria’s conflict….
The regime claimed on Sunday that it had evacuated more than 5,000 civilians from Adra, following an insurgent offensive in which the opposition has taken over most of the town.
Minister of Social Affairs Kinda al-Shammat said, “The citizens who have been evacuated are now in a safe haven as the ministry formed a relief operations’ room with the cooperation of Damascus countryside governorate to offer them the basic relief aid.”
However, a different version of events was given by activists and sources on Monday.
They argued that civilians were trying to flee amid heavy regime bombardment of Adra, shelling which was verified by video from President Assad’s National Defense Force.
The sources said those taken into military custody had to hand over their IDs and were not able to move freely as they are kept in nearby schools. Activists alleged some men, mainly of fighting age, were detained.
Sources said it was insurgents trying to protect the civilians, as they fled from the bombardment towards the Homs highway and the industrial area.
State News agency SANA re-asserts this morning, in a feature accompanied by photographs, “Survivors of Adra Town: We Remained Several Days Without Food. Terrorists Seized Hundreds of People and Killed Tens”:
“We used to live in peace in this town, after we left our homes in Hijira town, but the armed terrorist groups entered the town and committed brutal crimes against hundreds of people; they have destroyed the houses and left entire families homeless,” Ali al-Bakkar said.
Subhi Salam, an 82-year-old man, said, “They [the terrorists] have looted our properties and attacked the women, and they have used us as human shields.. I am now 82 years old and I have never seen such painful days in my entire life.”
Mahmoud Khoulan, a father of six children, said, “My wife is sick; there is no electricity, no water and no food… we have stayed several days without food… it is hell!”
Kafranbel Poster: How Assad is Using Islamic State of Iraq as Trojan Horse
The people of Kafranbel in Idlib Province, known for their posters, on how President Assad is using the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham as a “trojan horse” to undermine the Syrian uprising:
— Kafranbel Enlglish (@kafrev) December 31, 2013
The image shows Assad to the left, and a Trojan horse to the right, with the Arabic abbreviation “داعش” — ISIS — written on it.
Activists report that, in its latest attack on media in Kafranbel, ISIS stormed the Al-Gherbal semi-monthly magazine, destroying equipment and seizing owner Mohammed Alsalloum.
Last week, ISIS raided a radio station in Kafranbel. Six staff who were abducted were soon released, but the equipment was not returned.
Red Crescent: 17,000 Have Fled Town of Adra
— Syrian Red Crescent (@SYRedCrescent) December 31, 2013
Claimed footage of civilians in the besieged area of Yalda, south of Damascus:
A Tragic Poster for The New Year
— Rime Allaf (@rallaf) December 30, 2013
Conflicting Claims in Insurgent Attempt to Take Deir Ez Zor Airport
Conflicting claims are circulating this morning over the state of the insurgent assault on regime positions in Deir Ez Zor Airport in eastern Syria.
The insurgents are in the fourth day of an offensive against the airbase, asserting on Thursday that they had taken the nearby village of Juffra and were at the north entrance and northeastern gate of the airport (see Thursday’s entry).
However, State media claims the regime has re-captured Juffra: