PHOTO: A regime airstrike on surrounded Zabadani


Facing the Hezbollah-regime offensive on Zabadani, northwest of Damascus, rebels issued a defiant message on Thursday, “We told them that we will not kneel.”

Entering the second week of the offensive, there are conflicting reports over the state of the fighting. State media and pro-Assad outlets continue to proclaim a steady advance towards the center of the town, taken by the Free Syrian Army in January 2012.

However, the claims of success have been contradictory and photographs of the military’s Chief of Staff were misleading when they claimed he visited troops inside Zabadani — in fact, he was some distance away.

Rebels insist they are holding out against the attacks. On Thursday, they say they blocked an attempt by Hezbollah and Syrian troops to advance from al-Zahraa castle, inflicting casualties. There are even assertions that the rebels have counter-attacked and taken some Hezbollah-regime checkpoints.

A brief update by State news agency SANA this morning focuses on aerial attacks before asserting, “The army and the Lebanese Resistance are advancing on various areas in al-Zabadani after they announced last Saturday a military operation there to eliminate terrorist organizations fortified in the city.”

Footage inside Zabadani:

Rebels blow up a Hezbollah armored vehicle in the town:

One of the many regime airstrikes:

Tribal Leaders Meet UN Envoy De Mistura in Geneva

The opposition Syrian National Coalition reports that UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has again met with Syrian tribal leaders in Geneva:

De Mistura has had discussions with the tribal leaders since late June about his proposals for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. The leaders have also met with President Obama’s representative General John Allen, as the Americans encourage their action against the Islamic State.

Syria Feature: Tribal Leaders to Work with US Against Islamic State?

Coalition Vice President Hisham Marwa declared, “The Syrian tribes are fully and effectively involved in the Syrian revolution and are integral part of the Free Syrian Army, the political factions, and the Syrian Coalition.”

People’s Assembly Discusses Water Shortages Amid Rebel Threat to Supply

State news agency SANA reports that the People’s Assembly discussed water shortages on Thursday.

Beyond the damage to infrastructure, supplies are being threatened by rebel warnings of cut-offs to regime-held areas in Aleppo and Damascus.

This week, the rebels said they would cut off the main spring to the capital if the regime did not halt its attacks on Zabadani, northwest of Damascus.

SANA never mentions the warning as it says, “Members of the People’s Assembly inquired particularly about the water situation in Damascus, Damascus Countryside, Daraa, Aleppo and some areas in Homs, stressing the need of providing alternative water sources and setting up emergency plans to deal with repeated water shortages caused by terrorist attacks.”

Water Resources Minister Kamal al-Sheikha said Syria is suffering from an annual water deficit of 1.5 billion cubic meters, but declared that “the Ministry is preparing a strategy for water projects” and an emergency plan for water pumps, tankers, and new wells to supply Damascus and Aleppo.