• Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, an opposition dissident, spoke during a seminar for the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs. He called for establishing “common ground between the regime and the opposition for Syria and its future”, as opposed to “western strategies”, since Russia and the US would divide Syria, but the government and rebels ultimately want a united Syria.

  • Jahbat al-Nusra’s criticisms of the revolutionary covenant that was signed by many Islamist factions the other day:

–  ”Lack of clarity, discipline and determination in the statement of principles.”

–Claiming a fight against “extremes” and “extremism” is not sufficient to establish the legitimacy of the ideas for insurgency.

–  It is not enough” to make religious references — principles have to be based on the Qur’an.

–It is legitimate to call for revenge and retaliation under Sharia law, rather than the Covenant’s assurance of a “fair trial” for leading figures in the Assad regime.

–The Covenant is too vague in its statement of cooperation with regional parties, some of whom may not be acceptable.

–The future of Syria must be an “Islamic State” — “We declare openly that we will not accept any civil state or democracy or any state not based on the rule of Sharia.”

  • An Assad campaign ad, “Together”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fso3AOFMtkw

  • The Red Cross said that it has begun a “major distribution” of emergency food rations to both sides in Aleppo, handing out 6,000 food parcels to both government and rebel-held areas.

–This weekend the Syrian government gave its approval for a plan that was submitted in January to feed 60,000 people through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

  • Amnesty International released a report detailing the lack of healthcare options available for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They said that specialized care is becoming “woefully insufficient.

–Lebanon has a highly privatized and expensive healthcare system, forcing many refugees to rely on subsidies from the UN Refugee Agency to pay for health care. But the UN has only obtained 17% of the $1.7 billion that it has appealed for the refugees in Lebanon.

–Due to the shortage of funds, the UNRA has had to introduce a restrictive set of eligibility criteria for healthcare subsidies, and even then most people need to pay for 25% of the cost themselves.

–As a result many people are left without care for wounds they have received from the war, are a heavy debt from borrowing money for treatment, or have had to return to Syria.

  • Iran denied reports that it is recruiting Afghan refugees to go fight in Syria for the government. The Wall Street Journal made the allegations last week.

  • The Pentagon said that 7.2% of Syria’s declared chemical weapons remain and that the government is currently preparing some of them for transport to be destroyed.

  • Mashudur Choudhurry became the first British citizen to be convicted of “terrorist” activities relating to Syria.

–The Kingston Crown Court convicted him of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist attacks. Prosecutors said that he traveled to Syria on October, planning on joining a “terrorism” camp. He was arrested when he returned later that month.

  • In Hasakah, Al Asayesh and the YPG fought tribal gunmen and the National Defense Force in the Al Ezezeyyi neighborhood. The rebels managed to capture the water center in the neighborhood, and government forces withdrew to the national hospital, which is currently being besieged.

–4 rebels were killed, 7 government forces were killed, and 14 fighters were wounded. Civilians were reportedly killed as well.

–The NDF was setting up a tent that the YPG fired upon, thinking they were preparing a military checkpoint.

–The area is has a 4-way fight between rebels, the ISIL, government forces, and the YPG.

–Government forces are reportedly kidnapping Kurdish civilians in the area in response to the recent YPG advances.

  • SANA reported that the SAA had captured the town in Hilan, near the Aleppo Central Prison.

  • The Central Committee for the Popular Reconciliation opened a new office in the al-Midan neighborhood of Damascus to try and help reconciliation efforts in the area.

    A barrel bomb in Daraa province landing near the cameraman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2ZXYMdxeGY#t=25 

  • The Konrad Adenauer Foundation released a report showing that the 590,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan have had a negative effect on its economy. It also recommended moving the Zaatari camp due to pollution of the water basin underneath it from waste water in the camp.

  • ISIL convoy heading to Deir Ez Zor:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmZ7DD762HE&feature=youtu.be

  • Remains of a reconnaissance aircraft in Mleha that either crashed or was shot down and then recovered by the Islamic Front: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8wp5km_F-k&feature=youtu.be

  • The SAA claimed that they reached Aleppo Central Prison. The claim was denied by rebels.

–Rebels blew up Kindi Hospital near the prison, which had been used as a headquarters by the government before rebels captured it, fearing that government forces would re-take it.

  • In ar-Raqqah, 4 air raids targeted ISIL checkpoints.

  • Dutch police arrested a 21-year-old man who fought in Syria for planning to rob a yacht marina in order to “finance jihad”.

  • Jahbat al-Nusra detained 5 ISIL fighters, 2 of whom were Syrian, during a fight in the village of al-Tawamain Deir Ez Zor province. 5 fighters were killed in the clash.

    • Rebels claimed to have repelled the government’s push to take Aleppo Central Prison yesterday, killing over 50 soldiers and forcing them to pull back to al-Bureij, east of Aleppo.

    –There are still reports of government airstrikes, including 2 barrel bombs, and artillery being fired at areas surrounding the prison, indicating the siege has not been broken.

ISIL firing on PKK forces in  Tal Khinzeer.

ISIL firing on PKK forces in Tal Khinzeer.

ISIL spraying pesticides in Manbej.

ISIL spraying pesticides in Manbej.

How to play pool in Syria.

How to play pool in Syria.

A poster of Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, near Damascus.

A poster of Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, near Damascus.

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