PHOTO: Rebels attack a regime checkpoint north of Daraa city on Thursday
- Iran Buries More Fighters Killed in Syria
- Pro-Assad Outlet: Syrian Army Fights Back in Hasakah, But Islamic State Still Inside City
On the second day of their “Southern Storm” offensive, rebels made some advances in and near Daraa city in southern Syria, but appeared to be facing stiff regime resistance.
Assad forces hold about 30% of Daraa city, mainly in the center. On Thursday, rebels — mainly from the Free Syrian Army — moved on key positions such as the National Hospital and the State Security Branch. Reports in the afternoon said the rebels had taken both targets; however, later information confirmed that battles are ongoing.
The rebels have taken about half the industrial zone near the Security Branch and fire stations and buildings in both areas and other parts of Daraa. Fighting is reported near the stadium and the Panorama Roundabout in the north of the regime-controlled districts, at Sanjah in the west, and at Manshiyah in the south.
(Map by “Karybdis“)
To the north of Daraa, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, and other factions tried to cut the highway to Damascus, running through the regime-held town of Izra. Rebels claimed success, but pro-Assad outlets say fighting continues.
The pro-opposition Local Coordination Committees say it has confirmed the deaths of 37 rebels on Thursday, while the Daraa Martyrs site has posted 36 names and some photographs. Regime casualties are unknown.
State news agency SANA declares that “hundreds” of rebels were killed as the army “foiled terrorists’ attempts to infiltrate into the city”. The Governor of Daraa Province, Mohammad Khaled al-Hannous, maintained that “the situation is under control“.
Fighting at a regime checkpoint to north of city (see map):
Rebels inside a building on the frontline:
A scene from the fighting:
Daraa, located on the Jordanian border, was the starting point for the uprising against the Assad regime. In March 2011, residents protested the detention and abuse of teenagers who had sprayed anti-regime graffiti. When Syrian forces tried to put the demonstrations, including with gunfire and further detentions, protests spread across much of the country.
Iran Buries More Fighters Killed in Syria
Iran has buried five more of its troops killed in Syria, bringing the total to at least nine that have been publicly acknowledged this week.
Funeral processions were held in Mashhad on Wednesday for the five soldiers.
There were three burials on Wednesday of fighters killed by an improvised explosive device on the Damascus-Daraa road in southern Syria.
Another soldier, a 1st Lieutenant in the Revolutionary Guards, died in a Tehran hospital following severe injuries suffered on May 15. The funeral is set for Friday morning in Tabriz in Iranian East Azerbaijan.
Pro-Assad Outlet: Syrian Army Fights Back in Hasakah, But Islamic State Still Inside City
The pro-Assad al-Masdar News says the Syrian military has regained some of the territory seized by the Islamic State in Hasakah city in northeast Syria.
The outlet says army and militia reinforcements helped recapture of one of two neighborhoods taken by the the Islamic State on Thursday, and regained part of another in the southwest of Hasakah.
However, al-Masdar acknowledges that the militants still pose a challenge, with heavy fighting at a juvenile detention center near the city.
The Islamic State failed earlier this month to establish a foothold inside Hasakah, which has a mixed Arab, Kurdish, and Assyrian population.