Regime renews assault on rebel stronghold west of Damascus

Regime renews assault on rebel stronghold west of Damascus
2 min read
20 July, 2015
Regime forces are in their third week of an offensive against the rebel-held town on Zabadani, west of Damascus.
The Zabadani region has been heavily pounded by regime airstrikes [Getty]

Regime forces continued their offensive on the rebel-held city of Zabadani as the city and surrounding countryside came under heavy bombardment over the weekend.

Regime forces are reportedly engaging rebel forces around the town, which is situated near the Lebanese border and believed to be the last significant rebel-held outpost in the area.

A Lebanese security source reported that the Syrian army and Hezbollah forces took control of large areas of the Zabadani plain over the weekend, sealing off one of the main supply lines for the town, Lebanon's Daily Star reported.

According to media activist Firas Araby, rebel forces fought off an advance by regime forces into the town from the south on the 17th day of a regime offensive.

He added the advance had been accompanied by heavy air raids. Eight locations inside the city have been hit by rockets, including several checkpoints near the city centre.

Barrel bombs have reportedly been dropped on locations in the countryside south of the town, causing casualties.

Air raids on Aleppo and Dera

Local activists reported that helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the village of Kfar Dael, a town in the countryside west of Aleppo, killing five and injuring an unknown number of others.

Other air raids reportedly targeted the road to al-Bab to the north-east, and the rebel held areas of Sakhour and Bab al-Hadid in Aleppo.

Local activists also reported that parts of Dera province, south of Damascus, had been hit by air raids. According to the reports, the city of Dera itself, Um Walad, al-Hara and ay Tariq al-Sadd were all hit.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that after midnight the regime also bombarded Mishara, Batina and al-Ajraf, in the neighbouring province of Quneitra.
The observatory also reported that two were killed and a number wounded, among them women and children, when the regime bombarded the village of Mushrifeh in Quneitra.

The war against the IS

The international coalition launched airstrikes around Raqqa on Sunday morning, after launching nine on Saturday against the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria and Iraq on Saturday.

According to activist Abu Ibrahim al-Raqawi, the coalition denied targeting the area around Raqqa's mosque, which meant it had been bombed by the regime.