DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:45 P.M.) – A huge explosion rocked the government-held parts of Al-Manshiyah neighborhood in the southern province of Daraa, as Islamist rebels blew up a VBIED in a building allegedly used by government forces.
The suicide attack comes as the hardline Ha’yat Tahrir Al-Sham (formerly Jabhet al-Nusra) failed to advance in the neighborhood weeks after they have launched a wide-scale offensive to overrun the Syrian Army there.
According to rebel sources, the explosion, which was carried out by a suicide bomber nicknamed Abu Hamza Nawa [picture below], killed and injured several soldiers from the government forces as well as fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Earlier, the government-controlled neighborhoods of al-Sahari and al-Matar have come under heavy mortar attacks fired from the nearby rebel areas. Injuries, as well as substantial material, were damage reported.
Pro-rebel sources on social media mourned the death of a famed local activists Mohammed Abazid, dubbed George Samara, and Hassan al-Harir [rebel physician] by airstrikes conducted by Syrian Air force on rebel positions.
The month-long rebel assault has so far yielded little results. The coalition of rebel forces, led by the notorious al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, managed to control less than the quarter of the targeted Al-Manshiyah neighborhood, while losing – in the process – scores of fighters including senior commanders.