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Regime Offensive Sparks Fears of Massacres in Lattakia

Villagers in the countryside of Lattakia move towards Turkish border for fear of sectarian killings by regime forces and militias
Regime Offensive Sparks Fears of Massacres in Lattakia

The Islamic State (ISIS) launched a major offensive yesterday in the countryside of Hassakeh in northeastern Syria, in an attempt to control the villages and towns near the Kurdish-seized Tel Tamer, connecting Syria with the Turkish and Iraqi borders. The attack followed the Syrian regime’s successful killing of 26 ISIS fighters, including the "governor" of central Syria, Abu Ammar al-Jazrawi.

The regime managed to strike the group twice in less than one week after it killed the military commander of the Nusra Front, Abu Humam al-Shami, in a raid on the countryside of Idleb on Thursday.

Regime aircraft also raided the towns of eastern Ghouta, including the city of Douma, killing at least six and injuring many others. Regime media dealt discreetly with the sudden operations launched by its army in the countryside of Lattakia, in which it managed to penetrate the "first line of defense" of opposition's al-Akrad Mountain stronghold. Regime advances urged the Syrian National Coalition to issue a warning stating "massacres" may be committed by regime forces in the province’s coastal villages.

Secretary General of the Coalition Mohammed Yahya requested the international community and coalition forces to "act urgently to protect civilians in the countryside of Lattakia and other Syrian territories, especially in light of the fierce offensive, where regime forces – accompanied by sectarian militias and the National Defense militia – attempt to storm a number of villages in the countryside of Lattakia, amidst extreme fears of civilian massacres".

"It is reported that the people of Doreen, Salma, Marsh Khokha and al-Kom villages in the countryside of Lattakia have moved to the border with Turkey for fear of regime forces and its militias, which have already committed sectarian massacres in the coast", Yahya continued.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced the killing of "at least 26 ISIS fighters, including two leaders of al-Badia governorate, following raids carried out by regime aircrafts on the Aqerbat region in the eastern countryside of Hama". The Observatory did not name the group’s leaders, but the official Syrian news agency, SANA, quoted from a "military source" the confirmation of the death of "Deeb Hdejan al-Otaibi, known as Abu Ammar al-Jazrawi, ISIS governor in the central region", noting he was killed "in a quality operation carried out by the Syrian Air Forces".

In the countryside of Hassakeh, the Observatory said that violent clashes took place in the past few hours in villages near the town of Tel Tamer between the Kurdish People's Protection Units and the Islamic State. AFP news agency reported from Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman that ISIS launched an offensive on Tel Tamer, managing to advance towards the village of Tel Nasri and approach ar-Rukba. But Kurdish fighters, backed by Assyrians fighters, are strongly confronting ISIS forces". The Director of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, Osama Edward, said "the Kurds and Arabs were displaced from Tel Tamer yesterday due to the attack".

Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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