8/25/2014

  • Yesterday the Islamic State captured the al-Taqba Airbase from the Syrian military in al-Raqqa province.
    • The IS had been suffering heavy casualties in their push over the last 2 weeks to over-run the base, which was the government’s last base in al-Raqqa. The government had also been conducting an intense campaign of airstrikes on IS-positions in the region in order to weaken the assaults against the base.
    • The attack, which was the 4th assault in the last week, began Saturday night and managed to penetrate the southern part of the base by Sunday morning.
    • The IS claimed to have captured AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, SA-16 portable anti-aircraft systems, and MiG-21B jets, although they most likely do not have the capabilities to fly them.
    • The Syrian Arab News Agency, a pro-government news agency, said that the military was “regrouping after the successful evacuation of the airport” and was still inflicting heavy casualties on the IS.
    • Casualties are difficult to determine, but around 320 soldiers are apparently dead or missing. The military has retreated to the town of Athariya.
      An Islamic State fighter in a MiG captured in the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      An Islamic State fighter in a MiG captured in the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      Islamic State fighters around a captured MiG in the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      Islamic State fighters around a captured MiG in the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      Sidewinder missiles captured by the Islamic State from the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      Sidewinder missiles captured by the Islamic State from the Taqba Airbase in al-Raqqa.

      A photo claiming to show an Islamic State fighter in the Tabqa Airbase with a captured MANPADS.

      A photo claiming to show an Islamic State fighter in the Tabqa Airbase with a captured MANPADS.

      The head of an SAA soldier killed by the Islamic State during their capture of the Tabqa Airbase in ar-Raqqa.

      The head of an SAA soldier killed by the Islamic State during their capture of the Tabqa Airbase in ar-Raqqa.

      The heads of Syrian soldiers in the al-Na'im roundabout in al-Tabaqa, next to the Tabqa Airbase in ar-Raqqa.

      The heads of Syrian soldiers in the al-Na’im roundabout in al-Tabaqa, next to the Tabqa Airbase in ar-Raqqa.


  • The Islamic State is preventing cars from entering and leaving al-Raqqa province out of concern that soldiers could be brought in or evacuated out.

  • A SCUD missile launched towards al-Raqqa

  • Peter Curtis, a US journalist who has been held prisoner by Jabhat al-Nusra for nearly 2 years, was released after negotiations in Qatar. His family was told that no ransom was paid.
    • This comes less than a week after the beheading of James Foley by the Islamic State.

  • The Sunday Times reported that MI5 and MI6 (the UK’s Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service) have identified the British man who beheaded James Foley last week. The name has not been made public.

  • Walid al-Muallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister, said that the government is willing to work with the US and Britain as long as “the co-operation is serious and not double standards” and that “any violation of Syria’s sovereignty would be an act of aggression. He also said the government would require being involved in coordinating any airstrikes against the Islamic State.

  • Liwa al-Battar, a group in in Hama province with around 120 men, pledged loyalty to Jabhat al-Nusra. It is rumored that several other groups also did and will be announced over the next few days.liwa al-battar bayah jan 8-25-2014
    • A video of fighting and men of Liwa al-Battar: 

  • YPG video showing them in Jazza in al-Hasakah province, which the IS has claimed several times this week to be in control of: 
    • Fighting over the weekend killed 17 IS fighters and 8 YPG fighters.

  • Forces loyal to the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) in the town of Tel Tamir in al-Hasakah province have begun collecting money from shopkeepers.
    • The money, which is being collected as donations, is being taken under the pretext of funding the Assayish (Kurdish internal security). Shopkeepers say that they are being threatened with prison and being accused of collabortating with the IS. Some shopkeepers have closed their stores and left the town after being unable to pay.

  • The Islamic State withdrew from the areas under its control in northern Homs province, but did not issue a statement explaining why. Jabhat al-Nusra took over the areas.
    • They are most likely overstretched by fighting on front with Syrian rebels, Syrian KurdsIraq Kurds, the Iraqi military, and the Syrian military, as well as by the airstrikes in Iraq that the US is conducting on the group.

  • The SAA killed 32 rebels in Daraa province during an ambush on the road between al-Harra and Zimrin. 26 rebels were wounded, and 12 are still missing. http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.062270&lon=36.039104&z=14&m=b
  • Rebels firing at a government-held building in Morek in Hama province

  • The FSA killed 10 soldiers during fighting in southern Morek in Hama.

  • Division 13 destroys a 57mm gun in fighting around Morek in Hama

  • A nurse was killed by rebels in an ambush in Hama province in the town of Khattab.

  • The Syrian military has launched a counter-offensive against rebels in Hama near the Hama Military Airport around Mahardeh.
  • Rebels fighting in Aleppo province

  • The Islamic State captured a checkpoint near Ithriya in Hama, cutting government supply lines between Hama and Aleppo.
  • Jabhat al-Nusra setting up and firing Grad rockets at the Hama Military Airport: 

  • Rebels captured Tell al-Shaheed, south of Mt. Azzan, from Hezbollah and the Islamic State in Aleppo.
  • 320 rebel fighters pledged loyalty to the Islamic State in the city of al-Bab in Aleppo.

  • 5 people were killed by airstrikes on the Islamic State controlled town of Dabiq in Aleppo.

  • A report about Islamic State calls for revenge against rebels in Aleppo: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/islamic-state-war-syria-rebels-aleppo.html

  • Islamic State fighters were killed by rebels in fighting around Marea in Aleppo, including an American.

  • The Islamic Front captured 4 villages from the Islamic State in northern Aleppo, and killed 10 IS fighters: al-Adiliya, al-Zahiriya, al-Sayed Ali, and al-Hassiya.

  • AN article by the Daily Beast about rebel opinions on possible US airstrikes on the Islamic State in Syria: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/25/syrian-rebels-to-obama-airstrikes-in-syria-will-never-stop-isis.html

  • 21 different rebel groups have formed a coalition called the “Coalition of the Western Qalamoun” in order to fight government forces and Hezbollah.

  • Islamic State fighters died after gunmen attacked their checkpoint in al-Mayadin in Deir Ez Zor province.

  • The Islamic State stormed a wedding party and arrested an unknown number of people in the countryside of Deir Ez Zor city.

  • Fighting between the Islamic State and unknown militiamen occurred in the al-Sheikh Yasin neighborhood of Deir Ez Zor.

  • Saturday in Deir Ez Zor, Ukaydat tribesmen killed 18 Islamic State fighters.
    • Their leader, Sheikh Khalil Jadan, was kidnapped by the IS earlier in the day after they ambushed him while he was travelling to Damascus from Deir Ez Zor. The tribesmen killed the IS fighters as they rescued him.

  • 2 women were killed and 8 were wounded by airstrikes on the city of Zabadani in Rif Dimashq.

  • SAA soldiers fighting rebels in Adra in Rif Dimashq

  • Activists in Daraya, a city in the south-west suburbs of Damascus, said that the government has ceased efforts to reach a truce. The residents of Daraya are under siege, and are often hit with barrel bombs but say that after the government’s recent gains around Damascus it has suspended truce talks with them.

  • Fighting between Jabhat al-Nusra and Hezbollah near Fleita in Qalamoun

  • An interview with Charles Lister on the Islamic State: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/brookings-scholar-explains-the-disturbing-rise-of-the-islamic-state-a-987294.html

  • The Pope’s envoy to Syria, Mario Zenari, said that young Syrian’s are gravitating towards the Islamic State due to a lack of prospects and the lure of financial support, rather than ideological conviction.
    • “They are frustrated to see that ideals of democracy and freedom are not progressing, and that the situation is deadlocked”.
    • “They go to them because they are more efficient and also sometimes because they get bigger economic support from them”.

  • Burhan Ghalioun, the first president of the Syrian National Council, said that the Vatican has ignored the opposition’s attempts to meet with the pope.

  • 5 rockets fired from Syria hit various parts of the Golan Heights. Israel said it did not know who launched the rockets and did not return fire.

  • Saudi Arabia is hosting a meeting with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, to discuss the Syrian conflict and the rise of the Islamic State.

  • The FSA launched an assault yesterday and today on government checkpoints surrounding the FSA-controlled town of Taldou in Homs province.
    • The town is under siege and is beginning to experience severe water shortages.
    • This is part of fighting over the last 3 days in the Hulwa valley, about 20 km northwest of Homs city. The area is one of the last FSA holdouts in the province.
    • Rebels said the valley is facing water shortages because the military set up checkpoints around water facilities and the local dam.

  • A captured Jabhat al-Nusra fighter: 

    A Jabhat al-Nusra training camp.

    A Jabhat al-Nusra training camp.

    A member of the Syrian Civil Defense in Idlib who was injured while responding to an airstrike.

    A member of the Syrian Civil Defense in Idlib who was injured while responding to an airstrike.

    A Washington Post map showing the current battle lines in Syria.

    A Washington Post map showing the current battle lines in Syria.

    A child poses next to a corpse in Deir Ez Zor.

    A child poses next to a corpse in Deir Ez Zor.

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