ighting on Wednesday near Albu Kamal, in northeast Syria near the Iraq border
The AFP reports that the Syrian Army has recaptured 3 predominantly Christian neighborhoods in Aleppo, all three of which fell to the Free Syrian Army over the weekend.
Syrians insurgents have captured a series of security bases and police stations in Albukamal, in Deir Ez Zor province, and have at least partial access to many of the border crossings with Iraq. As we’ve been discussing, the Free Syrian Army has won a series of victories in the region, and recently repelled a regime counterattack on FSA positions Deir Ez Zor. The FSA may be close to taking Albukamal, which may be a precursor to an more gains in the east.
The LCC reports that 115 have been killed by regime forces so far today:
62 martyrs were reported in Damascus and it’s suburbs including “21 in Mouadamiyeh, 15 in Daraya, 10 in Kafarsoseh and 6 in Barzeh”, 17 in Aleppo, 13 in Daraa, 6 in Homs, 5 in Hama, 5 in Deir Ezzor, 4 in Idlib, 2 in Safeta in Tartous, and 1 in Hasakeh.
The number is a mix of insurgents and civilians, and does not include regime losses. Syrian state media has also stopped running reports of regime casualties.
This number is also striking for 3 reasons. It suggests that the battle for Aleppo may be heating again, the numbers in Daraa fit the pattern of escalation we’ve been describing for days, and most of the casualties in Damascus, the epicenter of the latest violence, is on the western edge of the city - Kafer Souseh, Mouadamyah, and Darayya.
This number is also very high for this hour of the day.
An anti-opposition Youtube account posts this video (really two clips edited together), claiming to show the Free Syrian Army having executed 16 prisoners in Douma, an embattled suburb of Damascus. The first clip shows the Free Syrian Army in possession of the prisoners, and the second clip shows them dead. Warning - graphic.
(PLEASE CLICK ON BOX TO VIEW VIDEO)
We’ve contacted Dsyrer who has helped provide this context:
The group in the video is the “Brigade Of The Capital’s Shield” لواء درع العاصمة, which is based in the Damascus suburbs.
I can at least identify the first part - note that they’re defined as security officers here, not government supporters.
Dsyrer also found a link to the original “prisoner” video. The blogger Brown Moses also helped us find this video of the prisoners
(PLEASE CLICK ON BOX TO VIEW VIDEO)
Brown Moses also helped us discover an additional video, reportedly showing the prisoners, posted by a Youtube channel that has also posted 3 different versions of the video showing the bodies. The bodies in the second clip appear real (notice whole chunks of flesh missing) and some of the men appear to be the same across the two videos (the man in the “Coca Cola” shirt, and the man in the light blue being two that we identified. In other words, it’s very possible that this accusation is accurate. The oldest date of the prisoners of all the videos we linked to above was reportedly taken on August 14th, and the oldest video of the bodies was uploaded on August 18th. There may also be some confusion about exactly where these were reportedly taken, though “near Damascus” is consistent from all the videos. We shared the video with the spokesperson for the Local Coordination Committees, Rafif Jouejati, who had not seen it. While she maintained that it was possible that the accusation was pro-regime propaganda, she also stated that the LCC “condemns crimes against humanity and appeals to all Free Syrian Army Battalions to sign and adhere to the code of conduct.” James Miller takes over today’s live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for writing so much this morning