The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Tuesday that the number of barrel bombs dropped by Syrian regime warplanes on the city of Zabadani south of Syria’s capital Damascus has risen to 36.
Local sources said that a loud explosion was heard in the city, according to the SOHR.
Clashes in Zabadani have been ongoing since July 4 between Syrian army forces supported by Hezbollah militants and Syrian rebel groups teamed up with local fighters. Heavy aerial raids by the Syrian regime have continued in the confrontation areas since the beginning of the clashes between the two sides.
Hezbollah has been fighting with Syrian rebel groups since the Syrian civil war started in 2011, but their coordination with regime forces is focused in the south of the country, mainly in the Qalamoun mountains and around the southern borders with Israel and Lebanon.
Iran has backed Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in their fight against the Syrian opposition and has deployed Iranian military advisers in the Syrian war as well as mobilising Shiite fighters from elsewhere in the region. Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have passed from Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa valley into Syria through the Qalamoun area and advanced towards Zabadani.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), as of June 30, at least 19,205 air strikes were carried out by regime air forces this year.
The regime helicopters dropped at least 10,433 barrel bombs on different areas in Syria, killing more than 2,916 civilians, including 456 women and 665 children, while 18,000 other civilians were wounded and tens of thousands displaced.
According to UN estimates, more than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war, which began as an uprising and descended later into a complex civil war. More than 6.7 million people have fled the country while millions have been displaced internally.
A new credit line of $1 billion was extended to Syrian president Bashar al Assad by Iran this month. Moreover, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated last month that Iran would back the Syrian regime "until the end of the road."
Syrian opposition fears over Iran nuclear deal
Syrian rebel groups have expressed concern about the position of Iran being strengthened following the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers sealed on Tuesday.
The deal will lift the sanctions on Iran’s economy, which rebels foresee as leading to an expansion of Iranian influence in the region at their expense.
"This agreement will make the region more dangerous," said Iyad Shamse, leader of a rebel group in northern Syria called the Asala and Tanmiah Front.
"Our fears from this agreement are an increase in Iranian influence in the region and this is what is making Assad happy," he told Reuters.