By Peter Clifford                ©                 (

In the Qalamoun region between Damascus and Lebanon, fierce fighting continues, with possession of territory ebbing and flowing between the 2 sides.

Electricity and telecommunications, including the Internet, have been down for some days.

Jobar and Qaboun, Damascus, After Months of Fighting

As of this morning, Saturday, Assad’s troops appear to be in Nabek, arresting local elders and earlier reponsible for killing 17 people in a shelter, including children.

The bodies were found in the Al-Fatah district and it is currently not clear how long they had been dead, prompting calls for immediate access by the International Red Cross to assess the situation.

There were also reports Thursday that Nabek had been the target of a chemical weapons attack after 2 shells hit the town and 7 men were reported by activists as having swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth.  The Syrian Government denies that chemicals were used.

Video was released yesterday of the 12 nuns that were taken from Maaloula to Yabroud and whom appear to be safe and in good hands, (Arabic only), HERE:

The nuns say they are in “good health” and are said to be staying in the home of Christian.  Other reports suggest that an Opposition group, describing itself as “Free Qalamoun”, has demanded the release of 1,000 female prisoners held by Assad in return for the nuns safe passage to freedom.

This video (Arabic only) gives an overview of Maalalou, now in possession of Opposition forces for the second time, HERE:

Elsewhere in the Damascus region, Opposition fighters seem to have made extensive gains in Eastern Ghouta, taking control of Qasimya, Baharia, Jarba, Qaysa, Abbadeh and on the edge of Otaiba, not far from the International airport.


(Originally published 6th DECEMBER 2013 – Since UPDATED 7th DECEMBER 07.35 GMT:)

From the northern suburbs of Aleppo there are many reports today, Friday, of Opposition fighters very rapidly driving Assad’s troops from the Al-Kindi Hospital which they have been using as a barracks.

Remains of Al-Kindi Hospital Building, Aleppo

Fighting over the last 4 days has been intense, with the Opposition co-ordinating attacks from several directions and the regime striking back with jet attacks on Opposition positions.

Fighters can be seen using tanks and heavy machine guns, HERE:and in this one a fire can be seen burning under the left hand side of the building, HERE:

More long range tank and heavy machine gun fire, plus fighters moving towards the hospital buildings, HERE:

Finally, a suicide bomber blows up a BMP armoured vehicle packed with explosives, HERE:

Latest reports say that Opposition fighters are in control of the eastern half of the building – or at least what’s left of it.

Elsewhere in Aleppo, Opposition fighters detonated a mine near the Palace of Justice, HERE:  and destroyed 2 tanks south of the Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood.

Continuing power blackouts have been reported in large parts of the city, possibly because the Jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is now in charge of the thermal power plant on the eastern side of Aleppo.

On Wednesday activists reported that as many as 30 members of Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas Shia militia & Hezbollah were killed in the Al-layramoon suburb of northern Aleppo and that Opposition fighters had retaken the Ikthar Laboratory building there, which is not far from the Palace of Justice mentioned above.

Additionally, an Opposition rocket that landed in the pro-Government districts of Furqan and Meridian in western Aleppo on Wednesday is reported to have killed 18, including 5 soldiers, and wounded 30.

Similarly, in the Aleppo countryside, a Syrian Air Force air strike on Baza’a, a suburb of Al-Bab, on Friday is reported to have killed 21, including 6 children and 5 women.

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