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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid