Hundreds Flee Fighting Near Damascus

While ceasefire holds in Syria, operations are underway against the terrorist groups of IS and Jabhat Fateh al-Nusra
Syrian soldiers flash the victory sign.Syrian soldiers flash the victory sign.
22 IS terrorists have been killed in the Syrian cities of Al-Bab, Bzagah and Tadif in the last 24 hours as part of the ongoing Turkish Operation Euphrates Shield

Hundreds of civilians fled a mountainous region outside the Syrian capital on Sunday where government forces battled several terrorist groups, including one excluded from a recent nationwide ceasefire.

The Syrian military said some 1,300 people fled the Barada Valley since Saturday. The region is not part of the ceasefire because of the presence of the terrorist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, Aljazeera reported.

The region has been the target of days of airstrikes and shelling despite the truce, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey, and appears to be holding in other parts of the country, despite some reports of fighting.

The military said those fleeing Barada Valley were relocated to safer areas and their names were registered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were buses in the region ready to evacuate civilians but could not confirm how many people had left.

The Barada Valley Media Center said Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were firing on villages and towns in the water-rich region, as Russian and government aircraft carried out raids for the 10th consecutive day on Saturday.

The Lebanese group has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to bolster Assad’s forces.

Barada Valley is the primary source of water for Damascus and its surrounding region.

  Turkish Airstrikes Against IS

The government assault has coincided with a severe water shortage in Damascus since December 22.

Images from the media center indicate its Ain al-Fijeh spring and water processing facility have been destroyed in airstrikes. The government says militants spoiled the water source with diesel, forcing it to cut supplies to the capital.

State news agency SANA said two suicide attackers blew themselves up in the coastal city of Tartus, killing two security officers who had stopped them shortly after midnight, as residents were celebrating New Year’s Day.

Twenty-two terrorists from the self-styled Islam State militant group have been killed in northern Syrian cities of Al-Bab, Bzagah and Tadif in the last 24 hours as part of the ongoing Turkish Operation Euphrates Shield, according to a Turkish military source on Monday.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said 111 IS targets had been hit in simultaneous air-and-ground operations, Anadolu Agency reported.

Also, 103 targets were hit by howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, mortars and tanks, the source added.

The Turkish Air Force also struck eight IS targets, including a weapons depot, terrorist group headquarters and shelters.

Russian planes also destroyed IS targets in Deir Qaq, 8 kilometers southwest of Al-Bab, the source added.

The Turkish Army is supporting Free Syrian Army fighters liberate a strategic city Al-Bab from IS.

The Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August, aims to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terrorist threat along Turkey’s border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.

  21 Ceasefire Violations Reported

Illegal armed groups shelled Syria’s settlements 21 times over the past 24 hours, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties said in its bulletin on Sunday.

The shellings were registered in the provinces of Damascus (6), Aleppo (7), Latakia (5) and Hama (3), TASS news agency reported.

In the Hama Province, terrorists fired mortars and small arms against Suran and Maan, and positions of the government troops located to the west from Maan.

The positions of border troops of the Syrian Arab Republic, the eastern suburb of Barisha, and positions of the Syrian Army located to the east from Qensaki have been shelled in the Latakia Province.

The Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist organization shelled several targets in the city of Aleppo.

“The terrorists have also shelled six targets in the Damascus Province,” it said.

The Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force did not strike the opposition’s armed groups, which follow the ceasefire regime and informed the Russian or US reconciliation centers about their location.

  3 Settlements Join Ceasefire

Another three settlements in Syria’s Latakia have signed truce agreements over the past 24 hours.

The total number of settlements, the leaders of which have signed reconciliation agreements, reaches 1,084.

“The negotiations on joining ceasefire regime continued with field commanders of armed groups in Muaddamiyet al-Shikh in the Damascus Province, and units of armed opposition in the Aleppo, Homs, Hama and al-Quneitra provinces,” the center said.

Two humanitarian events have been also held over the past 24 hours for civilians in the Sheikh Maqsood area in Aleppo and in Saasa in the Damascus Province.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints