Intense battles between opposition and regime forces in Daraa

Intense battles between opposition and regime forces in Daraa
Intense battles took place between Syrian opposition and regime forces in Daraa, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus on Tuesday.
2 min read
15 February, 2017
Daraa suffered fierce airstrikes by regime and Russian warplanes [AFP]

Three fighters, including a Lebanese national were killed in an ambush by Syrian opposition forces in regime-held Kafraya in Idlib province, whilst further fighting took place between opposition and the regime forces in Daraa and the outskirts of Damascus on Tuesday.

Opposition forces appear to have encircled a number of militias belonging to Iran and Lebanese group Hizballah in the town of Kafraya.

The regime loyalist towns of Kafraya and Fouaa are under siege by rebel forces

Fighting also intensified in Daraa between regime forces and The Free Syrian Army, with intense shelling and air raids by Russian and Syrian warplanes.

Local activist Ahmed al-Masalmah told The New Arab that Daraa and its outskirts suffered extraordinarily fierce airstrikes, the casualties of which remain unknown.

Meanwhile, intense battles took place in the western Damascus countryside between regime and opposition forces, in which rebels were able to advance on Talat al-Dahirah and Nuqtatat al-Isharah, two regime-controlled areas near the town on Beit Jinn.

The rebel advance also resulted in heavy casualties among government troops, according to opposition sources.

Elsewhere, two women were injured in regime shelling on the road linking the Barzeh and Qaboun neighbourhoods of east Damascus, according to sources.

Meanwhile, the extremist formation “The Committee for the Liberation of Syria”, headed by former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) continued to clash with the hardline Liwa al-Aqsa for the second day in a row, killing nearly 70 fighters.

The deadly clashes between the former allies started Monday after a Liwa al-Aqsa suicide bomber targeted a JFS headquarters in Idlib province.

While the regime and its allies claim to fight the Islamic State group, they have intensified their war with unrelated opposition forces who have been fighting the regime since the conflict began.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fueled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.