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Entries in Elisabeth Byrs (1)


Syria Live Coverage: Has the Insurgent Advance Stalled?

2136 GMT: A Massacre in Idlib? Some sources now suggest that between 50 and 71 people have been found dead in Mastoomeh, just south of Idlib city (see update 1920). These reports are completely unconfirmed, and news is very hard to come by from the town at this moment. So far, there have been no pictures or videos either, but the internet in the town may be cut off.

Here is what we know - Yesterday there were reports that the regime moved forces into the town and crushed the small amount of rebel fighters who had briefly occupied it. Black smoke was reportedly seen rising from the town, and some have suggested that homes were burned by the regime elements.

Since then, reports of executions have been spreading, but few details have been confirmed. Several different activists have told us that sources they trust can attest that bodies have been burned in the streets. Several sources suggest that the number of dead is 70 or more, though several sources have also expressed caution that there is little news actually coming from the town.

Ultimately, there is a worry that either there are wild rumors flying, or that there has been a terrible massacre that will not be covered by the media because of the lack of information.

2055 GMT: Al Nusra Front - The Quilliam Foundation, a group which Ed Hussain used to belong to, has released what they say is an extensive and well researched report on Jabhat al Nusra, the insurgent group placed on the Terror list by the State Department for alleged ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The report traces the groups foundation, organization strategy, membership, and its larger role, relying on anonymous sources described as "jihadists and Islamists, resistance fighters, government officials and experts in recent Iraqi affairs." The entire report can be read here.

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