Syrian regime pounds Yabroud with airstrikes, barrel bombs
Debris cover a street and flames rise from a building following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces in Aleppo. (AFP)
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Pro-opposition activists in the Yabroud region said Monday that rebels had fended off the latest attempts by the regime to storm the area, in the wake of a deal that saw 13 Lebanese nuns exchanged for a number of female detainees.
Regime aircraft pounded the Yabroud region with five strikes while artillery shelled a number of locations surrounding the town, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It said clashes raged around the village of Sahl, which the regime said it seized last week, as well in the Rima region.
Pro-opposition activists from the Qalamoun Media Center said a commander of the regime campaign and two body guards were wounded by a land mine, adding that the regime side and its allies had suffered “hundreds” of dead and wounded, distributed in government hospitals in Qalamoun.
The center said that helicopters dropped five crude “barrel bombs” on Yabroud, killing two brothers.
Elsewhere in rural Damascus, three opposition rebels were killed in battles with regime troops, paramilitaries and Hezbollah fighters in eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said, while the regime side and its allies suffered casualties in rebel shelling of the Sayyida Zeinab area south of the capital.
In Aleppo, rebel units continued to block regime attempts to encircle the city during clashes in the Sheikh Najjar district. The Observatory said the regime side, backed by paramilitaries and Hezbollah, suffered an undetermined number of casualties in a rebel attack against a building housing soldiers there, while several other neighborhoods of Aleppo saw fighting between soldiers and rebel groups.
In the campaign pitting militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) against an array of rebel groups, the Observatory said both sides suffered casualties during fighting around the town of Mambij in Aleppo province, while clashes also raged in other nearby locations.
In the city of Raqqa on the Euphrates River, a hotel housing ISIS militants was targeted by an explosion, killing an undetermined number of members of the Al-Qaeda breakaway faction. Also in the city, ISIS fighters summarily executed two government soldiers who were captured in recent fighting near the Division 17 military base. The Observatory added that ISIS appeared to be sending reinforcements to Aleppo, for its battle there with rebel groups.
At the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the capital, fighters from the PFLP-GC, allied with the regime, clashed with militants from the Nusra Front and Islamist rebel groups, causing to an unspecified number of casualties on both sides, the Observatory said.
It said that in Homs province, two paramilitaries were killed Sunday in fighting near the village of Zara, which regime troops seized from rebels the day before. Fierce fighting pitting rebels against government soldiers and paramilitaries was also reported Monday in the village of Al-Hosn, which lies below the famous Krak des Chevalliers Crusader castle.