PHOTO: Jaish al-Fateh rebels in captured Khalidiya, south of Aleppo, on Thursday



Warnings of Imminent “Massacre” of Protesting Detainees at Hama Prison
“War Crime” as 30+ Killed in Strike on Refugee Camp

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UPDATE 1030 GMT: The rebel bloc Jaish al-Fateh has continued its advance on Friday morning on the front south of Aleppo.

Reliable sources say the villages of Khalsa and Humayra have been captured, south of Khan Tuman (see map). Rebel have also moved into an Army fuel base northeast of Khan Tuman (see map), and a tank base to the south of the recently-captured town (see map).

ORIGINAL ENTRY: In another surge south of Aleppo city, Syria’s rebels captured the town of Khan Tuman from the Assad regime on Thursday.

The rebel bloc Jaish al-Fateh, reorganized earlier this week, launched an offensive yesterday and soon moved into Khan Tuman near the Aleppo-to-Damascus highway. They also claimed the town of Khalidiya.

The advance is the second significant victory for rebels and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra in six weeks, reversing the gains of a regime-Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive last autumn. On April 1, rebels and Nusra reclaimed the town on al-Eis and nearby areas on the Aleppo-Damascus highway, and they held the positions against Iranian-led counter-attacks, killing more than 100 troops and militia.

The Syrian military had said that it would observe a truce in Aleppo city, beginning Thursday morning, but there has been no sign of a halt to the battles on the important frontline to the south.

Rebels also took positions in northwest Aleppo city earlier this week, disrupting any regime plans for staging areas for an assault into opposition-held Idlib Province. The rebel forces eventually pulled back amid Russian and regime airstrikes, but only after leveling buildings.

The Jaish al-Fateh bloc led the rebel offensives in spring 2015 that captured almost all of Idlib Province and moved into parts of Hama and Aleppo Provinces. However, the group had been beset earlier this year by internal disputes.

Earlier this week, Jaish al-Fateh announced the departure of the jihadists of Jund al-Aqsa, accused of causing the disruption, and the addition of other rebel factions. The bloc now includes a range of rebel groups, including some previously supported by the US and some Islamist units, and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra.

Journalist Hadi al-Abdallah from the captured area (Warning — Graphic Images):

Footage of the fighting:

Large Tank and Weapons Haul for ISIS from Al-Sha’ar Gas Fields

The Oryx Blog has highlighted the large haul of tanks, vehicles, and weapons for the Islamic State from its capture of the al-Sha’ar gas fields near Palmyra in eastern Homs Province.

The ISIS moved into the complex on Wednesday and turned back a regime counter-attack yesterday.

The Islamic State claimed the capture of 20 tanks, as well as numerous vehicles, technicals, and weapons.

Oryx said it was not possible to verify the exact amount captured but added that, although likely to be less than ISIS claimed, it is significant. The blog continued:

The fact that such poorly trained, yet overstocked with arms, units remain responsible for protecting highly important locations highlights the chronic shortage of (well-trained and motivated) manpower on the side of the regime. A larger influx of Shiite fighters deployed by Iran can only partially solve this issue, which is unlikely to be ever completely resolved.

Warnings of Imminent “Massacre” of Protesting Detainees at Hama Prison

The opposition has warned of an imminent “massacre” of detainees who are protesting at Hama Prison.

The inmates took control of the prison on Monday after the Assad regime decided to move four detainees to Sednaya military prison for execution. Detainees seized the nine police officers who had come for the transfer and took control of the prison utilities department, including the bakery and kitchen. Prisoners reinforced the main gate by putting steel doors and beds behind it.

Now see Syria Feature: Warnings of Imminent “Massacre” of Protesting Detainees at Hama Prison