• The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 40 civilians, including 4 children and 6 women, were killed by airstrikes on Jasim in Daraahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=32.986204&lon=36.048889&z=13&m=b
    • Critically wounded casualties have been evacuated to Jordanian hospitals.

  • Fighting around al-Sheikh Miskin in Daraa has continued: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=32.840943&lon=36.130257&z=12&m=b
    • 11 airstrikes hit the town yesterday.
    • 6 airstrikes hit Nawa yesterday.
    • Government forces have recaptured the eastern neighborhood of the town and are also pushing from the west.
      • Rebels claimed that reinforcements consisting of Iranian militia are a large factor in the government’s gains.
    • Rebels monitoring government positions: 
    • A rebel who’s house was destroyed in the fighting: 
    • The evacuation of a rebel wounded in the fighting: 
    • Government forces who were killed:
    • Airstrikes yesterday: al-Sheikh miskin. 12-1-2014

  • There was heavy fighting between rebels and government forces in the al-Manshiya neighborhood of Daraahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=32.616822&lon=36.093349&z=15&m=b

  • 9 people were killed by an airstrike on the town of Andan in Aleppo.

  • Fighting around the northern Aleppo city of Kobani has continued: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.886005&lon=38.360052&z=14&m=b
    • The Islamic State launched a heavy attack on Saturday morning, which began with 3 suicide attacks near the Mursitpinar border crossing.
      • Activists said that a VBIED on the crossing came from Turkish territory. Turkey has denied the claim.
      • The YPG said that the fighting was the heaviest in the south and east, and that the IS was bringing in reinforcements from Manbij and ar-Raqqa. The IS also reinforced the fighting in the southwest with tanks.
      • At least 8 YPG fighters and 16 IS fighters were killed on Saturday.
      • The IS has been slowly pushed out of its areas in the city in the recent fighting.
    • Abu Furat, an FSA commander from Raqqa, was killed fighting the IS.
    • The YPG advanced in the fighting in the south of the city.
    • At least 43 shells from the IS hit within the city.
    • 17 coalition airstrikes targeted the IS around the city over the last 3 days.
    • A video by the IS: kobani 12-1-2014 Kobani 12-1-2014 2

  • The rebel attack on the towns of al-Zahraa and Nubbol, northwest of Aleppo city, have continued: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.363937&lon=37.028561&z=13&m=b
    • Airstrikes hit the town of Anadan, south of al-Zahraa, which the Islamic Front is using as a base to launch its attack from.
      • At least 8 people were killed by airstrikes that targeted the area around a mosque.
    • Fighting from yesterday, including a suicide bombing: 
    • A mass grave found by rebels in the area that they say contains around 40 burned bodies:
      • //

        Post by Halab Today TV.

        Jabhat al-Nusra fighters killed in al-Zahraa.

        Jabhat al-Nusra fighters killed in al-Zahraa.

        A Jabhat al-Nusra fighter killed in al-Zahraa.

        A Jabhat al-Nusra fighter killed in al-Zahraa.

        An NDF fighter with a dead rebel.

        An NDF fighter with a dead rebel.

  • Fighting in the al-Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppohttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.236156&lon=37.151921&z=15&m=b

  • Fighting around Handarat, north of Aleppohttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.271335&lon=37.170439&z=14&m=b
    • Rebels detonate a government-held building: 

  • Fighting in the Hanano Housing Center in Aleppohttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.228973&lon=37.205458&z=14&m=b
    • Rebels shelling the barracks: 

  • The Islamic Front claimed to have killed 15 soldiers and captured 5 in fighting around al-Bureij in Aleppo yesterday: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.250226&lon=37.208376&z=14&m=b
    • Rebels shelling the area: 
      Soldiers captured by the Islamic Front.

      Soldiers captured by the Islamic Front.

  • One person was killed by airstrikes on the Islamic State-held area of al-Shaddadi in the southern countryside of al-Hasakah.

  • Government forces captured several hills overlooking the al-Abyad road from the Islamic State in al-Hasakahhttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.346379&lon=40.561180&z=13&m=b

  • Yesterday, Jabhat al-Nusra moved into the town of Ma’arrat Hurmah in southern Idlib: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.550664&lon=36.537952&z=13&m=b

  • Abu Taleb, the security commander of Ahrar al-Sham, was killed by a bomb in Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib.

  • 2 airstrikes hit the village of Rahjan in Hamahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.404862&lon=37.433510&z=13&m=b

  • Fighting in Darayya in Western Ghoutahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.457439&lon=36.249132&z=13&m=b
    • The government has sent reinforcements to the area after heavy fighting over the last few days.
    • Rebels detonate a tunnel being dug by government forces: 

  • A rebel sniper in Irbin in Eastern Ghoutahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.537102&lon=36.368866&z=13&m=b

  • Zebdin in Eastern Ghoutahttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.482856&lon=36.413155&z=14&m=b
    • A rebel sniper:
    • SAA/NDF fighting: 

  • Jobar in Eastern Ghouta: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.529375&lon=36.335220&z=14&m=b
    • A government-held building burning:
    • Damage in the town: 
      A militia fighter killed by rebels in Jobar.

      A militia fighter killed by rebels in Jobar.

  • Yesterday Yousef Abdul Wahhab, a commander in Jaish al-Islam, was assassinated by unknown gunmen in the village of al-Reihan in Eastern GhoutaHassan Raheeb, a commander in Jaish al-Ummah, was assassinated in Harasta.
    • Both groups have accused the government of the assasinations, which follow several other recent assasinations of rebel commanders in Eastern Ghouta.

  • Ali al-Hajji, a media activist in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Damascus, was assasinated by an unknown gunman.

  • Syrian airstrikes and artillery targeted rebels in the farmland in Qalamoun adjacent to the Lebanese town of Arsalhttp://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=34.149033&lon=36.512375&z=12&m=b

  • In Qalamoun, rebels signed an agreement to unify their leadership, Sharia courts, and military operations.
    • The groups that signed are Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaish al-Islam, Jaish Usud al-Sharqiyyah, Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq ar-Rahman, and Tajamu al-Shahid Ahmad Abdu.qalamoun 12-1-2014

  • Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese paper, reported that Abu Talal al-Hamad, the Islamic State’s commander in Qalamoun, has been expelled from the IS.
    • The move was in retalliation for the arrest of Abu Ahmad Joumaa by the Lebanese Armed Forces, and the death of Abu Hasan al-Falastini.
    • The Dawn of Islamic Brigade denied his expulsion and said that he had pulled out with his fighters to their hometown of Homs.
    • Hamad was allegedly behind the kidnapping of LAF soldiers and policemen from Arsal in August, and was in charge of the current negotiations for their release.

  • 16 Iraqi soldiers were killed by the Islamic State in an attack on the al-Walid Border Crossing with Syria: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.434593&lon=38.920441&z=12&m=b
  • Rebels in Latakia

  • A video by the First Coastal Division, an FSA-affiliated group in Latakia

  • On Saturday and Sunday, 9 coalition airstrikes targeted the Islamic State around the city of ar-Raqqa.

  • On Saturday, rebels formed the Military Revolutionary Council, a coalition of 72 groups.
    • Carnegie Endowment report: http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=57350
    • The coalition was established during a meeting in Gaziantep in Turkey, as part of the Watasimo Initiative (hang on initiative).
      • The original initiative, announced in August, contained 18 groups. The RCC was formed after 4 months of negotiations.
    • The RCC aims to unite the various rebel political, military, and civil bodies within Syria in parallel to the Syrian National Coalition and Interim Government.
      • One objective is to form a uniform opposition judiciary across Syria, which will be a blend of Arab civil law and Sharia law.
        • This will be done by implementing internal studies by defected judges on the Unified Arab Criminal Code, and by Ahrar al-Sham on Sharia.
    • The RCC has a 17-member Executive Office, and 73 regional representatives (19 from the north, 12 from central Syria, 12 from the south, 7 from the east, 8 from the coast, and 15 from Damascus).
      • The President is Qais Abdullah al-Sheikh, a defected judge from Deir Ez Zor.
        • He resigned from the SNC last week.
      • The Vice-President is Ahmed al-Ragheb.
      • The Council Secretary is Naji al-Nahar.
      • The Political Chief is Mohammad Alloush.
      • The Military Chief is Major General Mohammad al-Haj Ali.
      • The Civil Chief is Rami Habib.
    • More prominent members of the coalition include Ahrar al-Sham, Harakat Hazm, Jaish al-Islam, Suquor al-Sham, Liwa al-Haq, Division 101, Division 13, Harakat Nour al-Din Zinki, Suquor al-Ghab, Faylaq al-Sham, the Tawhid Brigade, Jaish al-Mujahideen, The Syrian Revolutionaries Front, and Forsan al-Haq.
      • Several groups were excluded from the coalition, including Jabhat al-Nusra (Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate) and Jund al-Aqsa (an ally of JaN).
    • The RCC plans to form a 7,000 man army containing at least 100 fighters from each of the 72 member groups. The army would act under the RCC command.
      • Factions that do not provide 100 fighters will lose their place in the coalition.

  • SANA announced that Syria is hosting a 2-day conference on “combating terrorism and religious extremism”.
    • It reported that “political, religious, cultural, and social delegations and figures from 25 Arab and foreign countries” are present.
    • The US and Israel have been denounced at the conference for supporting “terrorism” under the guise of fighting it and conspiring against Syria.
    • The Islamic State’s sale of oil and theft of cultural artifacts was discussed.
    • The international sanctions currently placed on Syria will also be part of the discussion.

  • Washington Post article on the screening of rebels who will participate in the US-sponsored training program: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-military-will-use-psych-evals-stress-tests-to-screen-syrian-rebels-for-training/2014/11/28/39bb9362-7712-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html?wprss=rss_national-security
    • The program aims to train around 5,000 rebels, primarily to fight the Islamic State.
    • Fighters will be subjected to screening that includes a security check in US and foreign intelligence agencies, psychological evaluations, stress tests, information gathered from the home communities of the fighters, and biometrics tests.
      • Rebel commanders will have additional screening measures.
    • The plan has not been finalized, but fighters will be kicked out of the program if needed, while the ones who progress through it will gradually gain access to higher levels of training and weaponry.
    • The program will not be subject to the Leahy laws, which ensures that recipients of security assistance from the US State or Defense Department are not tied to major human rights abuses.
      • This is because the rebels will not be part of a state-sponsored force.
    • Vetting will not begin until Congress votes to provide the program with longer-term support.

  • 60 Minutes piece that covers the starvation tactics used by the government against civilians, and UN efforts to provide food aid to refugees: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/war-and-hunger-world-food-programme-and-syrian-refugees-in-jordan/

  • The UN has had to suspend the food vouchers to 1.7 million Syrian refugees due to a lack of funding. It needs $64 million to support the refugees for December.

  • Caucasian Knot report on Caucasian fighters in the Islamic Statehttp://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/30056/

  • The US rejected the notion that it is nearing an agreement with Turkey for a no-fly zone in Syria.
    • Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary, said that the US does not support a no-fly zone on the border, but it is open to a “range of options”.
    • Colonel Steve Warren, the spokesman for the Pentagon, said “we don’t believe a buffer zone is the best way to relieve the humanitarian crisis there in northern Syria”.

  • Profiling the Islamic State, A Brookings Institution paper by Charles Lister: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2014/12/profiling-islamic-state-lister#.VHyDlWziZJk.twitter

  • 2 different maps of the area around Aleppo cityAleppo 12-1-2014 current positions around Aleppo. 12-1-2014

    syria 12-1-2014

    Destruction in rebel-held Maadamiyeh in Western Ghouta.

    Destruction in rebel-held Maadamiyeh in Western Ghouta.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Qalamoun.

    NDF fighters in Latakia.

    NDF fighters in Latakia.

    NDF fighters in Latakia.

    NDF fighters in Latakia.

    An protest in New York City against Assad and the Islamic State.

    An protest in New York City against Assad and the Islamic State.

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