By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)
Heavy fighting continues on all fronts in Aleppo with Opposition fighters making a daring raid on the Hanano barracks in the centre of the city.
At dawn on Thursday, Opposition fighters detonated explosives in 3 tunnels that they dug under the huge, sprawling Hanano military base, HERE:
Almost 50 men were killed in the attack that followed, 27 of them Syrian Army troops and pro-regime militia and 20 from the Opposition side including a commander.
Opposition fighters clearly got inside the base as can be seen from this video, HERE: but the perimeter of the base was bombarded with barrel-bombs shortly after, HERE:
Hanano is one of the largest bases in Syria and strategically important as it sits on a hill overlooking Opposition supply routes across the north of the city.
SANA, the Syrian state media, claimed that the attack had been foiled and that the Syrian Army “had blown up the tunnels” but the base is so large we will have to wait on further details to know the true outcome, though it is unlikely the Opposition could have gained complete control in such a short time.
At Al Jazira, west of Aleppo near the military research centre Opposition fighters captured an injured member of the regime side but seem to be treating him well, HERE:
In southern Aleppo, Opposition fighters prevented a regime convoy on the ring road from approaching the Sadkop Army base which they had captured earlier in the week and succeeded in destroying several of their vehicles. A 10 minute video of the Ramouseh battle can be seen, HERE:
Elsewhere in Aleppo the Opposition have been holding their positions and firing back on the regime as seen (exact location unknown), HERE:
Just before dawn on Thursday, Opposition tanks also fired on the Air Intelligence headquarters in the north-west of Aleppo, scoring a number of direct hits, (starts in dark) HERE:
Heavy fighting is also reported again this morning, Friday, in the area of the Citadel above Aleppo Old City.
Interesting piece in Al-Monitor from “Edward Dark” who is based in Aleppo and spent an evening with off-duty Assad regime troops. Quietly they tell him that they would have lost a recent battle in the Zahra district of Aleppo if they had not received reinforcements from Hezbollah, HERE:
SANA, Assad’s media, reports that Opposition rocket attacks on the Al-Sulaimaniyeh, Al-Maidan and Maisaloun districts killed 21 on Thursday, including a child, and wounded 80.
DESPITE ASSAD SUPPOSEDLY GIVING UP 65% OF ITS CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKS, GAS ATTACKS CONTINUE TO OCCUR IN HAMA AND DAMASCUS SUBURBS:
In a wave of new chemical attacks in the last week, the Syrian Government has not only dropped cylinders containing chlorine gas on the village of Kfar Zeita (scroll down – see below) in Hama province last Friday and Saturday, but has now attacked the Opposition-held suburb of Harasta near Damascus on Wednesday, HERE:
This is the 4th attack this month using chlorine, a banned substance for use in warfare, though widely used in the chemical industry, including treating water. A chlorine (CL2) tank can be seen attached to a barrel-bomb dropped on Kfar Zeita, HERE:
Also in Harasta, Opposition fighters tried to blow up a building inside the vehicles-management base , HERE: while further north of the capital a major battle for control of Mleiha continues, HERE:
The Syrian Government has just submitted a more detailed list of its chemical weapons stocks to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and has been given to April 27th to deliver all its admitted stocks to the port of Latakia for onward transmission and destruction.
All of Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons are to be destroyed by June 30th. The 13th shipment of Syria’s chemical stocks was delivered to Latakia port on Monday, meaning that around 65% has been sent for destruction.
(EDITOR: No consolation for the people of Kfar Zeita and Harasta who continue to be attacked by this barbaric regime indiscriminately using chemicals on civilians.)
In Idlib province Opposition fighters destroyed a T-72 tank at the Salam Barrier west of Khan Shikhoun, north-west of Hama, HERE: and kept up mortar attacks on the emplacement, HERE: and HERE:
(EDITOR: I suspect being tank crew is not the most popular choice in Assad’s Army right now, especially after the new US made anti-tank missile news! Scroll down – see below for more on this.)
Opposition fighters are also reported to be shelling the State Security branch in Idlib city, with columns of thick smoke rising from the area.
Near Deir Ez-Zour military airport at Al-Mazare’ Opposition fighters are said to have killed 20 of Assad’s troops and to have taken control of the area.
In Quneitra province having captured one of the 3 hills at Tel Al-Ahmar several days ago, the Opposition have now captured a 2nd one, discovering an interesting, fully equipped command and control centre, HERE:
And having gained control of most of Quneitra province, some of the Opposition have now moved on to adjacent Sweida province, where most of the population come from the Druze sect and a number of explosions near regime installations have been reported.
In Latakia heavy shelling is reported by the regime on the area around Kessab and an ongoing fierce battle for control of Teshalama tower.
ON #INTERNATIONAL_HOMS_DAY ASSAD DEFIES ATTEMPTS TO GET INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT AND BOMBS HELL OUT OF THE CITY:
On the Jihadist front it was reported this week that the head of the Al Nusra Front (AFN) in Idlib province, Abu Mohammed al-Ansari, was assassinated on Tuesday night along with his wife, daughter, brother and niece in a house in Ras al-Hosn in northern Syria.
The 4 man assassination team is believed to have come from the rival extreme Jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS). AFN fighters killed one attacker and captured two more, while the fourth blew himself up.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Jordanian Air Force destroyed a number of armed pick-up trucks in the desert on their side of the Syrian/Jordanian border after they “failed to stop after being requested to do so”. It is not clear if they were Syrian Opposition fighters manoeuvring near the border or weapon smugglers.
While in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee camp some miserable refugees there are saying they would rather go back home to Syria and face death than stay in the increasingly poor conditions in Jordan.
Abu Isam, 52, said, “Nobody cares about Syrian refugees – the world has fooled us. They said our crisis will not last long. Now I feel a solution to our dilemma is impossible”. You can read more, HERE:
Lastly, today, 18th April, is International Homs day, so if you would like to join the campaign to save the remaining civilians still trapped in Opposition parts of the city Tweet the hashtag #International_Homs_day
Following this week’s renewed attempt on 4 fronts to wipe out the Opposition fighters remaining in and around Homs Old City, which failed with serious loss of life on the regime side, negotiations to release the remaining trapped civilians have also failed.
The result of the current dreadful shelling on what is left of Homs can be seen,here:
UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, speaking in Geneva said, “It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand. It is alarming that Homs, whose people have suffered so much throughout these past three years is again the theatre of death and destruction.”
This week’s failed ground attack was preceded by hundreds of shells, which continue to fall. Despite repelling Assad’s troops yet again, activists say that unless the remaining Opposition fighters receive outside help soon they will have to surrender, as some already have, or be killed.