FSA destroys military air base in Aleppo
By Paula Astatih
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat - The scene on the ground in Syria on Saturday was
no different than the previous few days, in spite of the diplomatic and
political efforts exerted in Geneva. Syrian opposition Local Coordination
Committees [LCC] reported the deaths of around 100 people yesterday, as a
result of the extensive security crackdown launched by Syrian security
forces which led, according to activists, to the death of more than 800
people across Syria over the past 8 days.
Whilst the regime’s military operations yesterday focused on Aleppo, Rif
Dimashq, Hama and Daraa, activists spoke of the Free Syrian Army’s [FSA]
success in destroying a military air base in Aleppo Governorate on Saturday
morning. Dissident elements undertook the mission in rural Aleppo, targeting
a military air base used by the regime’s forces to bombard rural areas and
villages. Activists from the region said that smoke and flames could be seen
rising from the military headquarters.
Simultaneously, FSA sources in Homs claimed that most of the wounded that
were waiting to be evacuated from the city had died after the both the Red
Cross and the Red Crescent failed to respond. In a telephone interview with
Asharq al-Awsat, the sources placed the blame entirely upon the al-Assad
Military sources also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the death toll of the
Syrian army had risen significantly over the last few days compared to the
death toll of the FSA. The source added: “we are currently witnessing an
increase in the number of deaths of young University students who reject the
Syrian political activists posted images on the internet showing that the
Khaled ibn al-Walid mosque - in the al-Khalidiya neighborhood in central
Homs - had been subjected to mortar fire. Activists also spoke of clashes
between the FSA and the regime’s forces, who have continued to bomb the Homs
districts of al-Khalidiya, al-Hamidiya, Jouret Shiah and al-Qusur.
For its part, the Syrian Revolution General Commission reported heavy and
sustained bombardment targeting most of the districts of Homs, compounded by
the crippling siege of thousands of residents and a severe shortage of
medical staff, equipment and water.
Whilst the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that severe
explosions had rocked several parts of Syria on Saturday morning, firstly in
the Damascene neighborhood of al-Qaboun and al-Jamilia district near the
Aleppo-Directorate, in addition to the explosion of an oil pipeline located
near the town of Alkorah in Deir Al-Zour.
Activists also claimed that the regime’s forces stormed the district of
al-Hajar al-Aswad in the capital and initiated a campaign of raids. At the
same time Syrian television reported that three had been injured as a result
of the explosions that rocked the capital, Damascus.
Meanwhile, LCCs stated that the regime’s army is continuing is shelling of
rural areas north of Aleppo, and that the town of Mayer has been exposed to
a violent bombardment amidst the interruption of telephone and internet
communications, and electricity shortages. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights reported that an explosion had occurred in al-Jamilia
district near the Aleppo-Directorate, which did not result in any deaths,
but the organization revealed that one person had died in Mayer and another
in Atareb as a result of the regime’s shelling.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission said that clashes are still ongoing
in Deir Al-Zour, a town which is considered outside the control of the
Syrian authorities, and these clashes have so far resulted in the death of
one military dissident and a doctor. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
also reported the explosion of an oil pipeline near the town Alkorah in Deir
al-Zour, a region also beyond the control of the regime’s forces.
In contrast, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that “the
relevant authorities in Deir al-Zour clashed with terrorists in the
districts of al-Hamidiya and al-Aradi, killing dozens of them and seizing
their weapons supplies”.
In Daraa, the regime’s forces have continued their security crackdown,
raids, arrests and intensive security deployment, supported by tanks.
Activists said that the regime’s forces continued to shell Daraa al-Balad
yesterday morning and launched a campaign of raids and arrests in the
Security forces backed by armored vehicles and anti-aircraft machine guns
stormed the district of Daraa al-Mahata, amidst heavy gunfire whilst snipers
were stationed at checkpoints and security outposts surrounding the area of
al-Kashaf, according to the activists.
Likewise, violent clashes are taking place at the entrance to the town of
Abtaa, between fighters from the rebel battalions and government forces, who
are reportedly utilizing helicopters, whilst the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh
had also been under fire from helicopter gunships.