News / Middle East

Battles for Aleppo Loom on Syria's Northern Front

Battles for Aleppo & Surroundings Loom on Syria's Northern Fronti
X
June 13, 2013 1:21 AM
Syrian government forces are reported to be preparing for a major offensive on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo and its surroundings. Patrick Wells was recently in northern Syria where Islamist opposition fighters massed in a strategic town south of Aleppo.

Battles for Aleppo & Surroundings Loom on Syria's Northern Front

Patrick Wells
— Syrian government forces are reported to be preparing for a major offensive on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo and its surroundings. In northern Syria, Islamist opposition fighters massed in a strategic town south of Aleppo.

Khan al Assal, off Highway 5, eight kilometers southwest of Aleppo - Syria's commercial hub besieged by war.

There has been fierce fighting for control of this strategic town. Islamist rebel fighters navigate the ground through holes they've picked in garden walls. They don't know where the government sniping positions are, and which paths are safe to walk down.
 
Khan al Assal was once a pleasure retreat for Aleppo's business elite, but after weeks of fighting much of the town is in ruins.

Hardline Islamist fighters have occupied palaces, which they said were previously in the hands of Alawite pro-government militias, the Shabiha.

They say graffiti of government forces and their playing cards litter the rooms.

"These belong to the regime, these are their cards. God is the greatest," one fighter said.
 
Rebels watch for movement in the government lines, occasionally firing their sniper rifles at nothing in particular. State media said this week government forces eliminated "terrorists" in nearby farms.

Rebel commander Colonel Abu Bakr says control of Khan al Assal is a stepping stone towards Aleppo's military academy. He predicts victory.

"When Khan al Assal falls, the next step will be the military academy which is the biggest base in the city of Aleppo. It's where the regime helicopters refuel and it's also their operations center. It's considered as the last main base in the city of Aleppo for the regime," Bakr said.

On the roads west of Aleppo, international Jihadists from Russia, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are visible.

Witnesses say that at a nearby theme park, Magic World, Islamists had cut the heads off of the statues, which some conservative Muslims consider idolatrous.

Commander Abu Bakr was asked about their presence.

"I don't want to talk about that," Bakr said.

Later, the colonel said that Jihadists were coming to Syria because Western governments hadn't provided enough military aid.

As battles for Aleppo loom, the U.S. is considering the possibility of sending weapons to non-jihadist rebel groups.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 13, 2013 7:28 AM
UN Claims 93,000 people confirmed dead in Syria Conflict. Numbers are likely greater, and very likely double.


by: Anonymous
June 13, 2013 5:37 AM
That will be great if they disable the refueling station which feeds the terrorist helicopters led by Assad that bomb the civilian areas without any respect for human life of any kind, and has killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Crimes against Humanity and the Syrian Nation in general by Assad.

In Response

by: Nam Viet from: Vietnam
June 13, 2013 10:39 PM
So what you should call the abitrary US bombings that killed hundred thousands of innocent Vietnamese people (including many children and women) in the North of Vietnam during 1972? a terrorist activities? a crime against humanity? If so you should call the US a terrorist state! No word can justify their actions!


by: Igor from: Russia
June 12, 2013 11:36 PM
It would be a shameful move if the US government decided to arm the rebels which are terrorists or led by terrorists. Those weapons would be use to kill innocent americans sooner or later. The same situations have happened in Lybia, Iraq, Afganistan. So Mr. Obama and his administration should act wisely or they will become terrorist backers or sponsors

In Response

by: Thomas from: England
June 13, 2013 2:57 PM
Why - Russia and Iran are doing us all a favour in tackling jihadi islamists. It's funny how the same people who were killing Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan (and on 9/11) you suddenly want to provide sophisticated weaponry to...
... you think giving them anti-aircraft missiles will make them stop hating you and everything you believe in?

In Response

by: Richard from: North Carolina
June 13, 2013 12:12 PM
Syria is the main conduit for arms to Hezbollah. Russia's support of Syria is support of terrorism. Putin and Russia are as much in bed with Hezbollah as Iran is. The US and the West must respond by providing as much military and other aid as the rebels need to overcome Assad. Even should they become terrorists they will be less capable terrorists than Syria and Hezbollah, armed with advanced Russian weapons but the Russian Terrorist in Chief, Putin.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid