The international road connecting Homs and Tartous was cut for several hours on Tuesday, specifically at the largely Shiite village of Oum Haratin situated next to the Homs’ refinery, forcing travelers in both directions to take alternative routes.
The road was cut by loyalist mercenaries protesting the regime’s arrest of a drug dealer from Oum Haratin in an attempt to pressure authorities to release him.
Zaman al-Wasl’s reporter in the area mentioned that the traffic on the road came to a complete standstill on Tuesday afternoon until the early hours of the night. The armed fighters burnt tires and fired in the direction of regime patrols while taking three patrol members hostage.
Desperate to ensure the road remains open, regime forces reportedly threatened the villagers of Oum Haratin with attacking their village while also flying warplanes close to the area.
Syria includes several villages and towns by the name of Oum Haratin – two of them in Hama and Suweida province, as well as six other villages with the same name in Homs’ eastern and western countryside.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.