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Regime forces launched an offensive on Homs city, parts of which have been besieged for almost two years, and retook one of the last rebel-held villages in Qalamoun. The Al Nusrah Front claimed three car bombings in Homs and said its fighters are eager to detonate more as well as conduct suicide attacks. In Aleppo, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham clashed with the Kurdish Front brigade, and the Islamic Front battled regime forces; ISIS also was targeted by regime forces in Aleppo. ISIS clashed with Islamic fighters in Raqqah. Al Nusrah announced an offensive in Sweida province, and the Islamic Front fought regime forces in Deraa. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front battled regime forces in Hama, Reef Dimashq, and in Idlib, where Islamic fighters toured Sermen displaying a beheaded Syrian soldier. Videos appeared showing rebel groups, including the Syrian Revolutionaries' Front and the Harakat Hazm, using US-made antitank rockets.




Regime forces recaptured the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, which had fallen to the Al Nusrah Front and rebels in December. Three journalists from Hezbollah's al Manar news were killed near Maaloula and two others were wounded when their car was attacked by Islamist "terrorists." The Syrian National Coalition urged the US to take action against alleged "genocide" by regime forces. The US rejected the regime's claim that it was winning and said the war was now one of "attrition." The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham clashed with Kurdish YPG forces in Raqqah, and killed six Al Nusrah fighters in Deir Izzour. In Reef Dimashq, Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front battled regime forces and Hezbollah in Al-Meleha, Ghouta, and Qalamoun; the Islamic Front also clashed with regime forces near Rankous. A suicide car bomb exploded in an Alawite area in Homs.




President Assad claimed that the Syrian conflict has reached a turning point in terms of the regime's military achievements and national reconciliation. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces in Hama, Aleppo, and Reef Dimashq. The Islamic Front also battled regime forces in Deraa, Idlib, and Homs. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham fought against Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front in Deir Izzour. ISIS controls al Bab city in Aleppo.




Both state media and rebel sources claimed that a poison gas attack injured dozens of people in the village of Kfar Zeita in Hama, and blamed each other. State media said the attack involved chlorine gas and was carried out by the Al Nusrah Front, and warned that the group was planning other chemical attacks in Hama and in the Wadi Deif area of Idlib. Al Nusrah tried to take over a regime checkpoint in Idlib. Al Nusrah and Islamic fighters clashed with regime forces in Hama; in Reef Dimashq; in Latakia, where they were joined by the Junoud al Sham, Ahrar al Sham, Sham al Islam, and Ansar al Sham; and in Aleppo, where, in some of the fiercest fighting in two years in the city, they were joined by the al Muhajireen army, al Ansar battalion, and rebels. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham fought against Kurdish YPG forces in Aleppo. Al Nusrah released a video in which an Australian member of its sharia council provided background on the long-simmering dispute between Al Nusrah and ISIS.




In the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Izzour near the Iraqi border, 86 people were killed as the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front recaptured the border town from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front also battled regime forces in Deir Izzour, in Reef Dimashq, and in Idlib, where they were joined by the al Umma brigade. ISIS clashed with Islamic fighters and the Kurdish YPG in Raqqah, and with Islamic fighters and rebels in Aleppo. In a video, German jihadist Denis Mamadou Cuspert (a.k.a.Abu Talha al-Almani) stated his allegiance to ISIS and called for recruits. A member of al Qaeda's shura committee urged that jihadist infighting in Syria be submitted to sharia council arbitration, and a group of prominent ideologues called on al Qaeda's emir to address problems posed by ISIS.




Regime forces clashed violently with the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front in Latakia; the military emir for Al Nusrah in Darkoush was killed. In Deir Izzour near the Iraq border the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham fought against Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front, and at least 54 fighters are said to have been killed, of which 12 were from ISIS. In Aleppo, Al Nusrah, the Islamic Front, the al Muhajireen Army, and the al Ansar battalion clashed with regime forces; and Islamic fighters targeted ISIS in northeastern Reef Aleppo.




Regime forces backed by Hezbollah captured Rankous in Qalamoun near the Lebanese border, cutting off rebel supply lines and solidifying the regime's hold in the area. The Al Nusrah Front, Islamic fighters, and rebels reportedly left Rankous after its inhabitants made a truce with the regime two days earlier. Two car bombs detonated in Alawite neighborhoods in the city of Homs, killing at least 25 people and injuring over 100. Islamic Front fighters clashed with regime forces in Latakia. The Al Nusrah Front and Islamic fighters battled regime forces in Aleppo, where they were joined by the al Muhajireen army, the al Ansar battalion, and rebels; and in Reef Dimashq in the Rankous area. Members of Al Nusrah's sharia council in Kafranbel, Idlib allegedly tortured and whipped a man. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham eulogized a Moroccan commander killed by Al Nusrah.




The Al Nusrah Front and Islamic fighters clashed with regime forces in Idlib; in Deir Izzour; in Hama; in Reef Dimashq near Rankous and Ras al-Ma'arra; and in Latakia, where they were joined by Junoud al Sham, Ahrar al Sham, Sham al Islam, and Ansar al Sham. The UN human rights chief said the Assad regime's abuses "far outweigh" those of the opposition. Al Nusrah claimed a joint attack with the Shield of Khan Shaykhoun in Idlib.




Father Frans van der Lugt, 75, a Dutch priest who had refused to leave the rebel-held and besieged city of Homs, was killed reportedly by a "masked gunman" in his house. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces in Latakia; fought alongside the Jaish al Mujahideen in Aleppo; and battled regime forces in Reef Dimashq near Rankous and Ras al Ein, where an Al Nusrah suicide bomber detonated at a regime checkpoint. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham fought against the Islamic Front and Kurdish YPG forces in Aleppo. President Assad claimed that much of the Syrian conflict will be over by the end of the year. Al Nusrah berated a top-tier jihadist forum for siding with ISIS, and cited al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri in support of its position.




A vehicle blew up in a market near a police station in rebel-controlled Homs city, killing 29 Islamic fighters, including two commanders. State media said the car was being packed with explosives, but some activists said an ammunition depot had been struck by a regime rocket, while a rebel said the Al Nusrah Front and others had been preparing a car bomb. A rebel mortar killed two people and wounded five when it hit the Damascus Opera House, state media said. In Latakia, the Nusrat al-Mathloum coalition threatened rocket attacks on Alawite neighborhoods in retaliation for regime barrel bombings, and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces in Hama and in Reef Dimashq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham beheaded a man in Aleppo, where it also battled Kurdish YPG forces; and clashed with Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front in Hasakah. A senior Islamic battalion commander shot and killed two rebel soldiers and wounded a third at the Sajjo checkpoint near the Bab al Salama crossing in Aleppo when they refused to allow him into the area.




The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces in Aleppo and in Latakia, where regime forces lost control of the town of Babolin, and two Moroccan field commanders of the Ahrar al Sham were killed in battle in Kasab. Turkey fired into Latakia in response to shelling that hit Hatay. The Islamic Front battled regime forces in Idlib, Homs, Quneitra, Reef Dimashq, and in Hama. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham clashed with regime forces in Hama, battled regime forces as well as Al Nusrah in Hasakah, and fought against the Islamic Front in Raqqah. A few hundred members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party are said to be fighting alongside regime and NDF forces, mainly in Christian-majority areas.




Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri eulogized Abu Khalid al Suri, his representative to Syria, and warned against jihadist infighting. The US is planning to increase training and shipments of small arms to "moderate" rebels based mainly in Jordan. An opposition source said over 1,000 jihadists, many of them non-Syrian, were recently airlifted from Jordan to Turkey, from which they entered Syria to fight in Latakia. Regime forces continued to battle the Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic Front, the Sham al Islam, and the Junoud al Sham in Latakia; 35 regime soldiers and 64 Islamist fighters were killed there yesterday, including the military commander of Sham al Islam, an Egyptian named Abu Safiya al-Masri. Sham al Islam's leader, ex-Gitmo detainee Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, was also killed in Latakia. The Islamic Front fought against regime forces in Aleppo, Deraa, Hama, Reef Dimashq, and in Deir Izzour. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham continued to clash with Kurdish YPG forces in Hasakah. The "Jobar Revo" opposition group claimed that the regime had used poison gas yesterday in an attack in Jobar.




Former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a.k.a. Brahim Benchakroun or Abu Ahmad al Maghribi, was reportedly killed in Latakia while leading his Sham al Islam group. Fierce fighting continued near a strategic hilltop in Latakia between regime forces and rebels, including the Al Nusrah Front, Ansar al Sham, Sham al Islam, Junoud al Sham, the Islamic Front, and Moroccan fighters from the Shab al Islam. The head of the UN chemical weapons mission said the regime must move quickly to meet the April 27 deadline for removing its chemical weapons from the country; shipments were stopped on March 20 due to worsening security in Latakia. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham battled Kurdish YPG forces in Hasakah, conducted raids in Raqqah, and clashed with both regime forces and Kurdish fighters in Aleppo. State media said regime forces discovered a 200-meter tunnel leading toward the al-Majd suburb in Damascus.




In a letter to the UN, Syria has accused "terrorist groups" of planning a gas attack in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Jobar that would be blamed on the regime. The head of the 'moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front, a Free Syrian Army offshoot, said the group fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front and has no quarrel with it. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front fought against regime forces in Hama, in Latakia, and in Reef Dimashq. Al Nusrah clashed with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Hasakah. Islamic fighters shelled a funeral procession for an NDF fighter in Sweida province, killing two civilians and injuring five more.




The president of the Syrian National Coalition visited rebel troops in Latakia, where the Al Nusrah Front, Islamic fighters, and Free Syrian Army forces are battling regime troops. Al Nusrah claimed a joint offensive in Latakia with Ahrar al Sham, Ansar al-Sham, and Sham al-Islam; one of the commanders, Abu al Hassan, was said to be from core al Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Activists and rebels disputed the regime's claim that it captured a key hilltop in Latakia. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham clashed with regime forces in Raqqah; and battled eastern front fighters, Ahfad Al-Mursalin brigade, Jabhat Al Akrad, and rebels in Aleppo. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front fought against regime forces in Hama. An activist observer group said the Syrian conflict has claimed over 150,000 lives.




Regime forces recaptured a strategic hilltop in Latakia during fighting with the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front, and Syria's information minister accused Turkey of helping foreign fighters enter the province. An observer group claimed that over 1,000 fighters have been killed in Latakia since March 21. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front also clashed with regime forces in Hama, in Idlib, in Reef Dimashq, and in Aleppo.




Regime forces launched an offensive to retake Kasab in Latakia from the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front. At least 50 fighters from the Al Nusrah Front and rebels were killed in recent clashes with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Hasakah. Rebels reportedly killed over 20 regime soldiers in two attacks in Aleppo. The head of Lebanon's General Security said efforts to free two kidnapped Syrian bishops are "on the right track." Two Spanish journalists held by Islamist extremists in Raqqah for six months were freed; some 40 other Western hostages are still being held.




Regime forces backed by Hezbollah captured two towns in the strategic Qalamoun region near the Lebanese border. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham reportedly killed up to 35 fighters from the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front during clashes in Hasakah. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front battled regime forces in Reef Dimashq, and in Idlib, where the al Umma brigade fought alongside Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front. In Deir Izzour, an IED detonated near Al Nusrah headquarters in Al-Myaden city. The OPCW said that about half of Syria's chemical weapons have been destroyed or moved out of the country; Syria's UN ambassador said rebel assaults on Latakia, which would affect the chemical shipments, were "trying to create a catastrophe"; he also said the most recent UN report on Syria ignored terrorists' roles in human rights abuses and hindering the delivery of aid.




The Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic Front, and rebels battled regime forces in Latakia. Activists claimed that opposition forces have blocked regime reinforcements from reaching Latakia. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front clashed with regime forces in Hama, in Idlib, and in Deir Izzour. Arabs in Raqqah allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham to create the al Ansar Army. The ISIS fought against Kurdish Jabhat Al-Akrad and YPG forces, as well as against rebels, in Aleppo. Al Nusrah and Islamic fighters killed a senior regime officer and five of his men in Aleppo city. The UN's latest report on the delivery of aid blames both the regime and the rebels for hindrances. The UN also voted to renew its investigation of war crimes in Syria.




The Al Nusrah Front, the Ansar al Sham, and the Sham al Islam continued to battle regime forces in Latakia; the regime responded with bombardments. Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front clashed with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham over oilfields and facilities in Deir Izzour. ISIS fought against Al Nusrah, Islamist fighters, and Kurdish YPG forces in Hasakah. Al Nusrah and Islamic fighters clashed with regime forces in Hama, and in Reef Dimashq.


 
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