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Fighting Continues in Syria; Rebels Move Command Center

  • VOA News

Syrian men salvage belongings from a destroyed buildings in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, September 21, 2012.

Syrian men salvage belongings from a destroyed buildings in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, September 21, 2012.

Government and opposition forces waged fierce battles across Syria on Saturday, as the rebel Free Syrian Army announced it was moving its command center from Turkey to Syria.

Opposition activists say at least 25 people have been killed as security forces pounded targets. They say some of the worst unrest is in the Aleppo region, where the military has launched raids to try to dislodge rebels from their strongholds.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), comprised mostly of military defectors, released a video saying it is moving its command to "liberated areas" of Syria.

FSA Colonel Riad al-Assad said the group hopes to launch an offensive on Damascus.

Ausama Monajed, of the opposition Syrian National Council, says the shift to a Syrian base will benefit rebel fighters.

"The rebel fighters can organize and have a better chain of command and expand their operations from there," he said.

In a VOA interview, Monajed says rebel fighters have improved their tactics, strategies and weaponry but currently are not ready to take on Damascus.

On Friday, the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Araby published an interview with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, in which he says opposition fighters would never been victorious in battles against his government.

In other developments, Turkish media reports say that country has deployed military vehicles to the Syrian border because of heavy fighting in the area.

Also, Lebanon says Syrian militants attacked a Lebanese army post near its border with Syria late Friday. Lebanese officials say there were no casualties.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the government and the opposition in Syria appear determined to resolve the crisis militarily. Mr. Ban said Syria will be a top issue as he meets with world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly next week.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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