Syria: Damascus truce broken in Qudsaya suburb

“We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We are in the dark. We didn’t expect this,” an activist told AFP as Syrian activists say a Damascus truce has been broken. AFP reports Syria’s government airforce hit the Qudsaya suburb just out of the capital city. Qudsaya rebels and the government came to a truce back in October 2013.

Syria has ramped up its presence on the Lebanon border and fueled further Lebanon unrest over Syria’s conflict spillover. Protests erupted as demonstrators clashed with the Lebanese army and blocked roads across the country; protests were dominantly present in Arsal right on the Syrian border.

The Lebanon army has reopened the road to the Bekaa valley, regaining access to Arsal, after being blocked by protests over Syria. A death toll has hit 19 in continuous Lebanese clashes in Arsal and across the nation.

On the ground

As for moves on the ground, Syria’s army and Hezbollah fighters are moving west after the successful siege of formerly rebel-held Yabroud. Clashes between rebels and government troops have grown in the Qalamoun region, especially in Ras al-Ain. The Daily Star with AFP reported Syria’s army took back Ras al-Ain, it is not clear if the takeover is complete.

An AFP reporter told The Daily Star Syria troops also pushed into Rankous, Flita and Ras al-Maara in the Qalamoun mountainous region. As Hezbollah fighters are aiding Syria’s army movements in Yabroud and beyond, they are assessing their current position.

Syria’s army is now fighting for control over a historic and famed fort in Homs, The Daily Star reports. Anti-government rebels have been holding the Al-Hosn village hosting the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs, where the Syrian army has walked into Wednesday.

Activists report to Reuters that Syrian rebels have taken the Gharaz Central Prison prison in Daraa near the Jordan border and freed inmates being held in there on Wednesday. It could have been up to a few hundred being held in the prison, Reuters sources report.

Israel returned Syria’s Tuesday attack, which wounded four Israeli troops stationed in Golan Heights, with hitting multiple Syrian military posts on Wednesday. The airstrikes by Israel killed a Syrian soldier and wounded another seven. Both sides warned each other over escalations, with Israel reportedly setting new red lines with Syria.

Through talks

Russia and Syria responded to the United States’ closure of the Syrian embassy on Wednesday; Moscow called it “worrying and disappointing.” The United States ordered the Syrian government to suspend their diplomatic and consular programs on American grounds Tuesday morning, demanding they leave the United States if they aren’t American citizens.

Headlines

Lebanese Armed Forces arrested 15 Syrians, including alleged al-Nusra members, in the bordering Arsal region, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says 45 percent of Syria chemical weapons removed.

United Nations says their list of war crimes, further investigations have provided enough proof to indict.

Aid convoys from the United Nations are to enter Syria from Turkey for the first time.

Analysis: What would be the significance of a Syrian election?

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