7/1/2014

  • Zahran Alloush, the head of Jaysh al-Islam, the largest group in the Islamic Front, said that he thinks the IS is the enemy of the revolution and has ties to both Iranian and Syrian intelligence. He confirmed that he is currently in negotiations with the government for a prisoner exchange.

  • Jaysh al-Islam pushed the IS out of most of the town of Mayda’a near in Eastern Ghouta, which is an IS stronghold. They also expelled them from the al-Marj suburbs and closed all entrances and exits to the town of Douma to everybody but its fighters.

  • A child starved to death in Douma due to the government’s blockade in the area.

  • The IS released 100 prisoners from the town of al-Bab after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Emir of the group, issued an amnesty in celebration of the establishment of the caliphate.

  • 7 groups have signed a security agreement in Giza, which lies southeast of Daraa. The agreement was in response to judicial and security problems that the region has been having lately. It establishes a police station and a security official who can arrest anyone who disturbs the peace in the city. The factions that signed the agreement are Jabhat al-Nusra, the city’s Sharia Council, the First Artillery Regiment, the Abdullah bin Rawaha Battalion, the Ahrar ash-Sham Islamic Movement, and the Ahbab ar-Rasoul Brigade. 

  • The black market in pharmaceuticals in Damascus in both rebel and government-held areas is skyrocketing, with most medicines, and even bandages, either not available or being sold at drastically inflated prices. Many of the pills are being sold in unmarked containers that do not list either their components or expiration date.

  • The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection announced several measures to control prices during Ramadan and to expand its control to include all markets. Food baskets will be sold at wholesale prices and 5% of the profits will go to families of soldiers who have died in the war.

  • The IS exchanged 15 Kurdish students, who were kidnapped while travelling between Aleppo and Kobani to take exams, for three of their own members. 135 students are still being held at a school in Manbej and will be exchanged for all IS prisoners in Kobani.

  • 6 Islamic fighters and an unknown number of government fighters were killed in fighting in the villages of Heilan and al-Maqbala in Aleppo.

  • In June the Syrian government hit Aleppo with 422 barrel bombs, 254 rockets, and 30 unguided bombs.

  • The General Comission of Water Resources has signed a €193 million contract with the Russian Trans Soy Gas Company to begin the first stage of the Tigris irrigation project. The project will irrigate 150,000 hectares in the Ein Diwar region, bringing the total amount to 214,000 hectares.

  • A spokesmen for rebel groups fighting the IS and government said that the IS took the town of Albu Kumal after a 3 day fight. He said the IS was able to pour in reinforcements and heavy weapons from across the border with Iraq. Syrian planes struck the town after the IS captured it.
        • Fighting is still occurring at the Jabhat al-Nusra stronghold of Shuheil, 100 km north of Albu Kumal. Shuheil is believed to be the hometown of al-Nusra’s leader, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani. Thousands of people have fled from the fighting and IS shelling after the IS captured the al-Attal area at the northern entrance of the town.
        • The IS also captured the town of al-Zur.
          Vehicles captured by the IS in Albu Kumal.

          Vehicles captured by the IS in Albu Kumal.

          Humvees captured by the IS in Albu Kumal.

          Humvees captured by the IS in Albu Kumal.

          Cigarettes being burned by the IS after their capture of Albu Kumal.

          Cigarettes being burned by the IS after their capture of Albu Kumal.


  • Amnesty International said Lebanon is acting in a “blatantly discriminatory” manner by preventing Palestinians fleeing the Syrian war from taking refuge in the country. Amnesty acknowledged that the Palestinian refugees put Lebanon, which currently has 1 million Syrian refugees, or 1/4 the Lebanese population, under enormous strain and criticized the international community for failing to provide more support.

  • The UN Security Council is pushing Russia and China to support a draft-resolution to boost cross-border aid delivery and place sanctions on those who try and stop it. The Syrian government has refused to allow cross-border aid deliveries to rebel-held areas and threatened to attack aid convoys that attempt to do so. Of the 10.8 million Syrians who currently need aid, 4.7 million are in hard to reach places.

  • A video of an IS parade in ar-Raqqa to celebrate the establishment of the Caliphate:

  • Ghufran Hijazi, the wife of Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Harmoush, denied that the Syrian National Coalition has allocated her a salary. Her husband, among the first Syrian Army defectors, has been imprisoned in Syria since September 2011. She currently lives in the Killis refugee camp near the Syrian-Turkish border and has been trying for 3 years to try and secure an income for her family.

  • The IS raised its flag in the town of Tell Abyad on the border with Turkey. 

    John McCain with the SNC in Turkey.

    John McCain with the SNC in Turkey.

    A current map of the Sheikh Najjar Industrial Area in Aleppo City, where rebels have been gaining ground recently.

    A current map of the Sheikh Najjar Industrial Area in Aleppo City.

    A current map of Syria.

    A current map of Syria.

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