LATEST: Writer Bunni Released After Two Days in Detention


Syrian State media claims that thousands of civilians, mainly Palestinians, have been moved from the besieged Yarmouk neighborhood in southern Damascus.

State news agency SANA quotes a Palestinian aid official, Abu Kifah Ghazi, “More than 7700 food packages have been delivered to the people in the Palestinian camp of al-Yarmouk while 3400 patients, along with their companions, were evacuated from it.”

It is unclear from the article whether the official’s numbers were from Monday or a total of recent operations. After months of siege by the Syrian military, some assistance finally reached Yarmouk last month, with some of its 18,000 remaining residents — out of more than 200,000 at the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011 — evacuated.

Abu Kifah Ghazi claimed that, despite the latest assistance, “Gunmen in the camp are delaying the implementation of the initiative.”

A child in Yarmouk last month: “We don’t have food. We are dying of starvation….We search garbage to eat.”

Writer Bunni Released After Two Days in Detention

Writer and journalist Akram Bunni was released by security forces on Monday, two days after he was arrested in Damascus.

Bunni’s brother Anwar, a human rights lawyer and activist, said the writer had been “questioned on several articles he had written for the Arabic press”.

Akram Bunni has spent more than 20 years as a political prisoner, including detention from 2007 to 2010 for signing the Damascus Declaration demanding democratic change in Syria.

Insurgents Form Joint Operations Room in Aleppo Province

Confirming a working relationship that has existed for months, the Islamic Front, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Jaish al-Mujahideen have formed a joint operations room in Aleppo Province:

Insurgents: Civilians Fleeing Regime Bombs on Hreitan in Aleppo Province

Fighters from a predominantly Chechen group in the Islamic faction Jabhat al Nusra report on Russian social media that civilians from the Aleppo town of Hreitan are fleeing after heavy bombing by Syrian forces.

The fighters said that the Assad regime is sending SMS messages to Hreitan’s residents, instructing them to hand over their weapons and surrender.

Insurgents reportedly took Hreitan from the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham earlier this month.

Jabhat al-Nusra Leader Tribute to Slain “Al Qa’eda Mediator” al-Suri

The leader of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra has posted a tribute to Abu Khalid al-Suri, a senior official in Ahrar al-Sham killed by a suicide bomb on Sunday.

Abu Mohammad al-Joulani said, “Syria has been pained by the loss of the wise man, the compassionate…Abu Khalid al-Suri. He fought the Nusayris (Alawites in Syria) 30 years ago, then traveled the world fighting the enemies of God wherever he went. He was the friend of (Al Qa’eda leaders) Osama bin Laden and (Ayman al-) Zawahiri, not to mention Abu Musab al-Suri and others from the leaders of Jihad and scholars.”

Al-Suri, on behalf of current Al Qa’eda leader al-Zawahiri, tried to reconcile Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham after the two groups split last year in a dispute over who represented jihadists in Syria. Al-Zawahiri finally endorsed Jabhat al-Nusra, because of its ties to local groups, but ISIS rejected the decision and broke from Al Qa’eda.

Al-Joulani, without naming ISIS, wrote, “We say to his killers: May your hands and your act be damned.”

In an implicit reference to the Iraqi-led group and its fight with insurgents since January, the Jabhat al-Nusra leader continued, “Who is the one that stopped fighting the Nusayris and started fighting those who fight the Nusayris?”