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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid