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Executive Summary for May 19th

We review the key developments in Syria, including heavy government airstrikes in Homs that killed an extended family, the first ever aid delivery to besieged Harasta and the government’s capture of a strategic, rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta.

Published on May 19, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Regime Airstrikes in Homs Kill 12

The Syrian government launched a series of airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Rastan in Homs Governorate on Wednesday.

Twelve people were killed, including women and children who were taking cover in an underground shelter.

Homs-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said that at least eight airstrikes struck the town of Rastan.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the raid killed an entire family, including a man, his wife and their children, as well as his two sisters and their children. The number is expected to rise as rescue workers continue to pull victims from the rubble.

The airstrikes came a day after a similar series of attacks on Rastan, one of the first areas in which residents took to the streets in 2011 to stand against President Bashar al-Assad.

Aid Delivered to 10,000 People in Besieged Harasta

An aid convoy led by international aid groups successfully entered the besieged Damascus suburb of Harasta on Wednesday, where an estimated 10,000 people celebrated the first delivery of humanitarian aid to the area in nearly four years.

“Despite a very volatile situation on the ground, the 29-truck convoy carried food, hygiene items, medicines and medical materials such as delivery kits for expecting mothers, and school kits,” Pawel Krzysiek, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria told the Huffington Post.

Last week, an aid convoy was denied access to besieged Daraya, where an estimated 8,000 civilians facing starvation and illness have been cut off from aid since 2013.

Government, Hezbollah Seize Town in Eastern Ghouta

Government forces with the assistance of Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah seized the strategic, rebel-held town of Deir al-Asafir in Eastern Ghouta on Thursday.

The town’s capture could pave the way for further regime advancements in Eastern Ghouta, according to Rami Abdulrahman, director the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Hezbollah fighters played a key role in the operation, which took place close to an area in which the group’s top military commander was recently killed by what was said to be rebel shellfire, Reuters reported.

Pro-government forces have made strategic advances in Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks, exploiting infighting between insurgent groups to make gains, according to Abdulrahman.

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