June 7, 2013
By Ahmad Kwider and Kristen Gillespie
AMMAN: The lockdown of Quneitra province continues, with students reportedly missing final exams because public transport and micro-buses are banned from operating. Regime checkpoints are ubiquitous and the area is split between FSA and government forces.
map by Abdul Rahman al-Masri
On Thursday, the FSA captured and held the border crossing point with Israel for the first time for five hours until the regime’s forces started a torrent of random bombing, shooting and shelling in the area surrounding the village of Kahtanya, where the border post sits.
It is not yet known what happened to the 500 remaining residents of the village following the assault, as electricity and internet are cut in the area. “Generally, the roads [in the province] are difficult and closed,” says Ali Abu al-Walid, 25, a network engineer from Quneitra’s Jaba village. “We were only able to buy bread after several attempts and we move in groups,” he added.
“We have lost the border crossing and don’t intend to recapture it at this stage because of the regime’s army strength,” said Col. Musa Abu Sakher, an FSA leader in Quneitra province, on Friday.
Austria announced on Thursday it would pull its 380 soldiers from the UN force along the Syria-Israel border after clashes along the demilitarized zone that was established in 1974.