Tag Archives: Jason Ditz

Syrian Rebels Kill 14 Civilians in Shelling of Aleppo

by Jason Ditz

Syrian rebels attacked the government-held neighborhood of al-Midan in the city of Aleppo today,  shelling a residential area and killing at least 14 civilians. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, half of the slain were children.

There were no indications that the shelling resulted in any military casualties or indeed accomplished any tangible military goal. This is not unusual for Aleppo, however, as the city has been in disputed control for years, and saw several incidentsof civilian killings this week alone, leaving over 100 civilians dead, and no territory changed hands.

The Syrian military and various rebels have been carrying out tit-for-tat attacks all around Aleppo, adding to the enormous civilian toll of the war, and particularly the toll on the civilians of Aleppo itself, which before the war was Syria’s industrial and financial capital.

When rebels attacked Aleppo, way back when, both sides predicted a quick victory, and believed winning Aleppo would be decisive in winning the war. The former prediction didn’t bear out, and at this point even if one side or another does end up in control of the city, they’re only in control of the rubble of a formerly important city.

Al-Qaeda Executes 56 Captured Syrian Soldiers

by Jason Ditz

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda overran the Abu Alduhur airbase in the northern Idlib Province of Syria, killing over 100 Syrian troops in the battle and capturing scores. This weekend, they executed the captured en masse, with a confirmed 56 additional troops killed.

Syrian state media had previously claimed that there were no captured troops, and that everyone managed to safely evacuate, though as usual there was ample evidence that many troops were indeed caught trying to flee the base.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indeed suggested no Syrian troops actually got out of the base in an “orderly” manner, and that everyone who was at Abu Alduhur was either killed in the offensive, captured by al-Qaeda, or is simply missing and unaccounted for.

Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front has been gaining a lot of territory in recent months, and controls virtually the whole Idlib Province, with the exception of a pair of Alawite villages which they’ve appeared to leave alone since the Syrian military fled, leaving them under the protection of Shi’ite militias.