Events in Syria Over the Weekend

Significant developments have been seen on the Eastern Ghouta and Afrin fronts over the weekend

1. A photo of a man carrying his sleeping toddler in a suitcase has spread all over the media and social media over the weekend. The photo, which was taken by a Reuters photographer, received more than 10,000 tweets in different languages. The photo (above) shows a man leaving his home in the Eastern Ghouta, where thousands of civilians streamed out of their homes as they sought to escape a military offensive by Syrian government forces on the rebel-held area near Damascus. [Source: The Syrian Observer]

2. The Turkish president announced that the Free Syrian Army, supported by Turkish troops, has entered and taken control the city of Afrin. In addition, a spokesman for the FSA said that its fighters entered the city of Afrin shortly before dawn on Sunday and took control of parts of the city after the withdrawal of Kurdish PYD fighters. Mohamad al-Hamdeen said the FSA fighters had not faced any resistance so far. [Source: Al-Souria Net]

3. Factions in the besieged city of Harasta in the Eastern Ghouta rejected the deadline provided by the regime for exiting the city for northern Syria. The regime gave the opposition factions within the city until 3 p.m. to withdraw. According to sources, the opposition responded to the deadline with a large-scale attack on regime positions in the vicinity of the city amid violent clashes and heavy shelling between the two parties. The Eastern Ghouta has been relatively quiet for the first time since the beginning of the regime's offensive on Feb. 19, amid negotiations between Faylaq al-Rahman and a delegation from the United Nations. [Source: Al-Ittihad Press]

4. A powerful explosion shook the town of Jableh in the province of Lattakia around midnight on Sunday. Activists on social networking sites argued that the cause of the sound is "caused by the explosion of an unknown object," without being identified. Russian air defenses at the Hmeimim military base "confronted a strange object in the sky without causing any significant damage," state media said. [Source: Al-Hal]

5. ISIS on Saturday regained control of T2. the most important oil installation in Deir-ez-Zor, after violent clashes with regime forces. Faisal al-Sayed, a resident of the city of Al-Boukamal, told Al-Hal that "a group ISIS suicide forces targeted the regime forces inside the station with four car bombs, killing 23 of them and capturing 17 others. ISIS now is in full control of the station." The source added that "all attempts by the regime to recover what it lost, with the support of the allied forces and the warplane, have failed." [Source: Al-Hal]

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