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September 20-26, 2014

Media Monitoring for Syria
Posted on September 26, 2014

Compiled by Asad Ali Walji

US Coalition Strikes on IS and Khoresan Group
  • The US formed a coalition to target hardline Islamists, Islamic State and Jabhat An-Nusra’s Khoresan Group
    • The latter has been described as an unrelated cell of veterans of Al Qaeda that were plotting an “imminent” attack against the US and Europe (New York Times)
    • The group’s leader was killed in one of the attacks
    • The strike used a mix of fighters, bombers, Tomahawk missiles
  • Included three provinces in which Jabhat An-Nusra are active
    • Kafr Daryan in Idlib province, west Aleppo, location in Hama province
  • IS targeted Raqqa, HQ of IS as well as Tabga, military base in Ein Essa and Tal Abyad on border of Turkey
  • Widespread condemnation from various:
    • Al-Haq Brigade (member of Islamic Front) voiced condemnation for the attacks
    • Video of Pro-IS protests in Homs and Idlib
    • Hazzm Movement, US backed rebel group, has voiced that the air strikes would hinder the revolution
    • Even the regime has voiced it’s disapproval of the strikes saying that the US should work with the Assad regime instead of allying itself with nations that “support terrorism” (Syrie Deeply)
    • However, Reuter reports that some members of the Syrian parliament are pleased with the direction of the strikes o YPG support the strikes by the US, but are disappointed they do not target IS effectively in Kobane
  • There have been reports by Syria Deeply that the air strikes have already inflicted civilian casualties and bring into question the effectiveness of the strikes. However, the strikes have targeted some oil fields under IS control that will definitely affect IS’ financial robustness
Adra taken over by government forces
  • With the situation in Damascus deteriorating over fights for neighborhoods and portions of the city, the SAA seems to be making some headway, taking over Adra, an important neighborhood adjacent to another section of the city controlled by rebel groups
    • This is another piece that has been chipped off of rebel controlled Eastern Ghouta, reflecting the tactics explained by SAA movements over the past few months
  • Video: There have been sweeping allegations of over he use of chemical weapons used by the SAA in the takeover
  • Rebel groups in the Eastern Ghouta have also substantiated these claims that the industrial Adra district is now under the control of pro-government forces
  • Video released by pro-Assad media shows a strong presence in the area
  • Supposedly 11 air raids conducted on the area in less than 2 hours
  • Al-Hasakah province has been repeatedly hit by coalition forces, as reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. September 25th, oil refineries in the area as well as IS residences were targeted resulting in both IS and innocent civilian deaths
Deir-Ez-Zor – US-led air strikes in the region
  • Air strikes continue in the province from a variety of factions:
    • Coalition air strikes conducted by the US or by the International-Arab Coalition continue to disrupt and disturb IS’ ability to recuperate from the last wave of air strikes
    • Air strikes especially targeted IS headquarters and institution buildings
    • Regime forces also continue to use air strikes as an effective means of hurting IS
Intense Clashes between Islamic State and Kurdish Forces
  • As IS pushes towards the Kurdish stronghold on the Syrian-Turkish border, Ayn Al-Arab, there has been intense fighting between the YPG and IS
  • International media: One notable IS commander has been killed in the fighting, Ahmed Ali Taha who was a main leader in the Tabqa Airbase taking. September 25th, the YPG launched a counteroffensive pushing IS back 9km, indicating the dire situation in the region as well as he push-pull fault line between the factions. One Turkish MP claimed that IS had executed 300 PKK/PYD captive militants in Kobane in a Turkish city, but this was more likely to be a much smaller number and still inside Syria near Tal Abyad – however it is indicative of the volatile and porous Syrian-Turkish border.
  • Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports the volatility of the situation, where YPG and IS are constantly clashing, reporting casualties
Kurdish Refugee Crisis along the Turkish-Syrian
  • According to Syria Deeply, Turkey has locked down its border with Syria after a sudden refugee surge – 100,000 people crossed over the border fleeing from IS’s advance into Kobane. The UNHCR is already bracing for refugees to flee across the border
In the wake of coalition strikes, IS gains strength
  • Syria Deeply reports that IS has gained more than 200 new recruits in Aleppo since coalition air strikes in the region and IS’ headway in the Kobane. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports fewer new recruits, but new recruits nonetheless. The region continues to be a hot spot for violence between a variety of factions; essentially all factions target each other
  • Syrian pro-government media Addounia TV enthusiastically touted the death of many rebel fighters (“terrorists”) in the area
Daa’ra, Quneitra
Clashes continue between Islamist rebels and the Lebanese army
  • Opposition media watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Clashes continue between the Lebanese army and Syrian rebel groups. Regime forces continue battering down on rebel groups using airpower
  • Meanwhile rebel forces, especially An-Nusra, use hostages as a bargaining tool for he release of the group’s prisoners
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