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Executive Summary for December 1st

To give you an overview of the latest news, we’ve organized the latest Syrian developments in a curated summary.

Published on Dec. 1, 2014 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

For the First Time, ISIS Launches Attack on Kobani From Inside Turkey

ISIS launched an attack on Kobani from inside Turkey for the first time this weekend, the Guardian reports.

The assault by the militants reportedly began with a suicide attack by a bomber in an armored vehicle on the border crossing between Turkey and the strategic Syrian town.

“Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union party, said that ISIS “used to attack the town from three sides,” but “today, they are attacking from four sides.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 50 ISIS fighters were killed in 24 hours in clashes, suicide bombings and U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria’s Kobani this weekend, AFP reports.

The death toll is one of the highest for the militant groups since it began its offensive on Kobani in September.

U.S.- Led Coalition Ramps Up Strikes on Raqqa

The U.S.-led coalition ramped up its strikes on Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, with 30 airstrikes targeting the town overnight, CNN reports.

The strikes targeted ISIS positions in Raqqa “as well as the Division 17 air base, which the militants seized earlier this year from government forces,” according to Reuters.

Thus far, the U.S.-led coalition strikes have primarily targeted the Syrian town of Kobani, near the Turkish border.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the airstrikes had failed to weaken the Islamic State in Syria and that unless Turkey closed its border to the militants, it would remain unharmed.

“If the Security Council and Washington do not force Turkey to control its borders then all of this action will not eliminate [the Islamic State],” Moallem said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime has kept up its airstrikes on the same area, killing almost 100 people last week in airstrikes on Raqqa. On Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented 19 deaths, including seven women and children, when Syrian government warplanes hit the town of Jassim in the southern province of Deraa.

Damascus has regularly accused Turkey of supporting what it sees as “terrorism” because of its support for the Syrian opposition. Turkey, which has a 560-mile border with Syria, has been a transit point and an operating base for groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Elsewhere in the country, fighting between rebels and government forces continued in Aleppo over the weekend. The Syrian Observatory for Human rights reported that a women and her three sons were killed overnight by rebel fire in the government-held side of Aleppo.

Aleppo has been divided between rebel control in the east and regime control in the west for over two years. In recent months, rebels groups have intensified their mortar attack on the government-held western area of the city. The Syrian air force has indiscriminately used barrel bombs on the rebel east and surrounding province, killing several thousands of people.

U.N. Documents Appearance of Flesh-Eating Disease in Syria

[U.N. experts have documented the first appearance of a flesh-eating maggot disease7 called Myiasis near Damascus, AFP reports.

The cases were detected in Douma, a rebel-held part of Syria’s capital that has been under government siege for more than a year, with residents facing scarce food and medical supplies. “Its appearance says a lot about worsening living conditions in war-ravaged Syria,” the World Health Organization said.

“This disease is not so much a danger in itself, but should rather be seen as an indicator for very bad water supply, sanitary and hygienic, as well as socioeconomic circumstances in besieged and hard-to-reach areas,” said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier.

According to Lindmeir, Damascus “has lost two-thirds of its drinking water supply.”

WHO issued an alert about the reappearance of polio in Northern parts of Syria, where other diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid have become endemic.

In an interview with Syria Deeply, Dr. Annie Sparrow described Syria’s descent into a public health nightmare, where Syria had become the epicenter of a measles and polio epidemic.

“We are seeing the emergence of unheard diseases, like rare tropical diseases (malaria and other parasites) that we’ve never seen in Syria before … which is a reflection of how bad the water situation is and the appalling living conditions,” she said.

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