News / Middle East

Syrian Government Forces Advance as Rebel Infighting Rages

Syrian army soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad pose for a photograph with their weapons in the Aleppo town of Naqaren, after claiming to have regained control of the town, Jan. 13, 2014.
Syrian army soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad pose for a photograph with their weapons in the Aleppo town of Naqaren, after claiming to have regained control of the town, Jan. 13, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The Syrian government has retaken territory around the northern city of Aleppo, the military said on Tuesday, after two weeks of rebel infighting that has weakened the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.
 
The internecine conflict among some within the chaotic plethora of rebel groups will allow Assad to portray himself as the only secular alternative in Syria to a radical Islamist regime when peace talks begin in Switzerland on Jan. 22.
 
His military advances will give the Syrian government delegation greater leverage at the negotiating table.
 
An army statement said government forces had pushed out from their base at Aleppo's international airport, southeast of the city, and were moving towards an industrial complex used as a rebel base and the al-Bab road, urgently needed by insurgents to supply the half of Aleppo under their control.
 
It said that government forces, along with militia loyal to Assad, were in "complete control'' of the Naqareen, Zarzour, Taaneh and Subeihieh areas along the eastern side of Aleppo, which was the major Arab country's commercial hub and most populous city before the conflict erupted in 2011.
 
Fighting between the al Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and rival Islamists and more moderate rebels have killed hundreds of people over two weeks and shaken ISIL, a militant faction led by foreign jihadists.
 
But ISIL regrouped and retook much of its stronghold in the eastern city of Raqqa on Sunday from remnants of the Nusra Front, another al Qaida affiliate although much more Syrian in makeup, and Islamist units called the Islamic Front.
 
War within a war
 
ISIL took control of the town of al-Bab, east of Aleppo, from other rebels on Monday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
 
The Observatory, which tracks Syria's war using sources from both sides, said eight fighters from Ahrar al-Sham, a unit within the Islamic Front, were killed by an ISIL car bomb in the western province of Idlib just before midnight on Monday.
 
Syria sank into civil war after a peaceful street uprising against four decades of Assad family rule began in March 2011. The revolt spiralled into an armed insurgency after the army responded with massive and deadly force to suppress the unrest.
 
As the fighting spread, better-armed hardline Islamists took the fore over more moderate Muslim and secular rebels, who are supported by Gulf Arab and Western nations.
 
Syria's foreign ministry dismissed as "fantasy'' statements by the pro-opposition Friends of Syria group - including Western and Gulf states - in Paris on Sunday that Assad was a war criminal and peace talks should end his "despotic regime.''
 
"The Syrian Arab Republic is not surprised by what happened in Paris during the meeting of Syrian people's enemies and the statements, which are closer to fantasy than reality,'' the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
 
The World Food Programme delivered rations to a record 3.8 million people in Syria in December, but civilians in eastern provinces and besieged towns near the capital Damascus remain out of reach, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
 
The U.N. agency voiced concern at reports of malnutrition in besieged areas, especially of children caught up in the civil war, and called for greater access.
 
The official Kuwaiti news agency said non-governmental organizations had promised to donate a combined $400 million for humanitarian aid for Syria ahead of an international donor conference that will start in Kuwait on Wednesday.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid