News / Middle East

Syrian Forces Enter Last Rebel Bastion Near Lebanese Border

In this photo, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian rebel looks through his binocular at one of the frontline of Yabroud town, the last rebel stronghold in Syria's mountainous Qalamoun region, Mar. 13, 2014. (Photo taken and provided by Local Comity of Yabroud Town)
In this photo, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian rebel looks through his binocular at one of the frontline of Yabroud town, the last rebel stronghold in Syria's mountainous Qalamoun region, Mar. 13, 2014. (Photo taken and provided by Local Comity of Yabroud Town)
Reuters
Syrian soldiers entered eastern districts of the town of Yabroud, the last rebel bastion near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, on Saturday and advanced towards the main street, Al Mayadeen television said.

The Beirut-based station broadcast footage showing soldiers charging through a field towards an arched entrance of the town and a sign saying “Welcome to Yabroud”. Gunfire could be heard as the soldiers proceeded.

Capturing Yabroud would help President Bashar al-Assad choke off a cross-border rebel supply line from Lebanon. The town is near the highway linking Damascus to the former commercial hub of Aleppo in the north and to the Mediterranean coast in the west, where Assad's minority Alawite community is concentrated.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the government was pounding some districts of Yabroud with improvised barrel bombs and shelling its outskirts.

The anti-Assad Observatory said heavy fighting was going on between government forces supported by Lebanese Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah and rebel factions including the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's official branch in Syria, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida splinter group.

Thousands of people fled Yabroud, a town of about 40,000 to 50,000 people roughly 60 km (40 miles) north of Damascus, and the surrounding areas after it was bombed and shelled last month ahead of the government offensive.

The government has been making incremental gains along the highway as well as around Damascus and Aleppo in recent months, regaining the initiative in a conflict, which began exactly three years ago.

al-Qaida-linked commander killed

A senior commander in the Nusra Front was killed late on Friday on the outskirts of Yabroud during shelling and clashes with the army and Hezbollah fighters, the Observatory said.

Abu Azzam al-Kuwaiti was the deputy leader of the Nusra Front in Qalamoun, the mountainous zone between Damascus and the Lebanese border where Yabroud is situated.

He had been a principal negotiator in the prisoner exchange last week which secured the release of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns held by the Nusra Front since December, according to the Observatory.

More than 140,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have fled abroad as refugees in an increasingly sectarian civil war. The conflict began with mass street protests against Assad in March 2011 but turned into an armed insurgency after a violent security crackdown on demonstrators.

European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, in a statement on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the uprising, urged Assad's government to comply with a June 30 U.N. deadline to eliminate its entire chemical weapons program.

Damascus did not meet a commitment to destroy 12 chemical production facilities by March 15, after having already missed several deadlines laid out in last year's agreement.

Ashton also said the international community had a responsibility to bring the conflict to an end.

“The tragedy in Syria has no parallel in recent history. The only solution to the crisis is a political one: the establishment of a transitional governing body, and a genuine Syrian-led inclusive political process to establish a democratic and pluralistic Syria.”

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Haron from: Afghanistan
March 16, 2014 11:08 AM
I wish and hope to eliminate these savages [rebels] as soon as possible and Syria could be a beautiful country again. it is a shame for those countries to support anti or rebels of Syria against their country instead of supporting Syria government to build their country more than past.


by: amir dread from: NYC
March 16, 2014 11:00 AM
We all know who the terrorists and their supporters are in Syria, Libya, and everywhere else. We know who are behind the coup in Ukraine. We understand what terror is, and we see who is terrorizing whom. We keep silent because we are afraid of the terrorists.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
March 15, 2014 10:55 PM
In place of giving food,education,health and good business climate, world champions of civil liberty have provided funds and weapons to world famous TERRORIST to fullfil their wish to change REGIME. How much poor syrians suffered we do not have time to read their PAINFUL AND TEAR story. We have time for drinks,dance and other bad habits, but we do not have time and money for poor peoples (CREATED BY US). We enjoy with tear and fear on their face and then we call champion of democracy.


by: meanbill from: USA
March 15, 2014 7:38 PM
THE SYRIAN WAR? ... The Syrian war would never had began if the US and EU hadn't funded and armed the anti-Assad fighters, and the foreign terrorists who joined the anti-Assad fighters, to bring their branch of Islam to Syria..
THE SYRIAN WAR would begin winding down in a month, if the US and EU would quit funding the anti-Assad fighters (terrorists), in Syria with funding and weapons, with help from their Muslim allies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey...
WAR should always be the last option, but the US and EU and NATO, seem to be starting all of them, or involved in there existence... (WHY?) ........ REALLY?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid