Regime tightens Barzeh blockade despite long-standing truce





Northeast Damascushttp://syriadirect.org/news/syria-direct-news-update-8-24-15/A regime blockade of a rebel-held neighborhood in northeast Damascus continued into its second day Monday after pro-regime forces closed all roads leading in and out of Barzeh, with no civilians permitted to enter or leave the area, reported the Barzeh Local Coordination Council. The blockade was put into place on Sunday in response to an incident the day before during which pro-regime forces opened fire on a car they suspected of carrying weapons into Barzeh, Adnan a-Damashqi, a local activist in the area, reported on Facebook. The suspects were only carrying food and household items, the activist said, a claim that could not be independently verified. The regime has breached the truce conditions numerous times since it was instituted in early 2014, Muhammad a-Shami, a Barzeh-based journalist, told Syria Direct. Yet recent regime steps point to an incremental return to a full-on blockade of the neighborhood. Last month, pro-regime forces began barring food and supplies from entering through the checkpoints around the city, said a-Shami, adding that the regime is attempting to pressure the rebels for “more concessions.” A local Barzeh reconciliation council initially brokered the truce with the regime after a several-month siege of the strategic district along the Damascus-Homs highway, situated close to Dahiyat al-Assad and Esh al-Worour, two Alawite-majority neighborhoods loyal to the regime and key military installations. The truce agreement also stipulated that “opposition forces control the inside of the neighborhood, the regime set up checkpoints along the perimeter and the reconciliation committees have checkpoints in between them,” Waseem Mahmoud, an opposition activist based in Barzeh, told Syria Direct in an interview in early 2014.August 24, 2015
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A regime blockade of a rebel-held neighborhood in northeast Damascus continued into its second day Monday after pro-regime forces closed all roads leading in and out of Barzeh, with no civilians permitted to enter or leave the area, reported the Barzeh Local Coordination Council. The blockade was put into place on Sunday in response to an incident the day before during which pro-regime forces opened fire on a car they suspected of carrying weapons into Barzeh, Adnan a-Damashqi, a local activist in the area, reported on Facebook. The suspects were only carrying food and household items, the activist said, a claim that could not be independently verified. The regime has breached the truce conditions numerous times since it was instituted in early 2014, Muhammad a-Shami, a Barzeh-based journalist, told Syria Direct. Yet recent regime steps point to an incremental return to a full-on blockade of the neighborhood. Last month, pro-regime forces began barring food and supplies from entering through the checkpoints around the city, said a-Shami, adding that the regime is attempting to pressure the rebels for “more concessions.” A local Barzeh reconciliation council initially brokered the truce with the regime after a several-month siege of the strategic district along the Damascus-Homs highway, situated close to Dahiyat al-Assad and Esh al-Worour, two Alawite-majority neighborhoods loyal to the regime and key military installations. The truce agreement also stipulated that “opposition forces control the inside of the neighborhood, the regime set up checkpoints along the perimeter and the reconciliation committees have checkpoints in between them,” Waseem Mahmoud, an opposition activist based in Barzeh, told Syria Direct in an interview in early 2014.