News / Middle East

    Syria Rebels Appear to Make Big Weapons Seizure

    In this screen grab from a video posted to You Tube by Syrian activists, rebels who claim to have captured a government arm depot show crates rockets and other arms. In this screen grab from a video posted to You Tube by Syrian activists, rebels who claim to have captured a government arm depot show crates rockets and other arms.
    x
    In this screen grab from a video posted to You Tube by Syrian activists, rebels who claim to have captured a government arm depot show crates rockets and other arms.
    In this screen grab from a video posted to You Tube by Syrian activists, rebels who claim to have captured a government arm depot show crates rockets and other arms.
    Syrian rebels appear to have seized a large number of weapons from a government arms depot near the northern city of Aleppo.
     
    Activists posted several videos to YouTube on Saturday and Sunday showing crates of weapons and ammunition they say were seized from the arms depot in the town of Khan Toman.
     
    In one video, Islamist rebels loaded dozens of the crates onto a truck. In another, rebels inspected the interior of a seized building containing crates of rockets and other arms.

    There was no independent confirmation of the rebel seizure of the arms depot.  Other activist videos posted on YouTube in recent days appeared to show rebels trying to seize the compound.
     
     
    Rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have seized large areas of northern and eastern Syria in recent months, including parts of Aleppo and the towns surrounding Syria's commercial capital.  But Assad's forces remain in control of central Aleppo, his power base in Damascus and western regions dominated by his Alawite sect.
     
    Syrian rebels have long complained about having inferior firepower compared to government tanks, warplanes and rockets supplied by Assad allies such as Russia. The opposition fighters frequently appeal to Western powers and their Arab partners to send them weapons to even the scale.
     
    The exiled opposition Syrian National Coalition is preparing to vote for a prime minister to manage rebel-held parts of Syria. Opposition figures said Sunday the vote is likely to be held in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday.
     
    Favorites for the position include economist Osama Kadi, businessman Ghassan Hitto and former Syrian agriculture minister Assad Asheq Mustafa.
     
    Kadi is the founder of the Washington-based research group Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Hitto has worked as a communications executive in the southern U.S. state of Texas. Mustafa appears to be the only major contender with experience of serving as a Syrian minister under the Assad family before defecting to the opposition.
     
    The Syrian National Coalition hopes forming a rebel government will help bring order to communities freed from Assad's control.
     
    Some opposition figures have criticized the group's decision to choose a prime minister, saying it should instead form an executive body to run rebel affairs or agree to a transitional government that includes members of Assad's administration.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jaime from: usa
    March 18, 2013 2:10 AM
    The man with the light brown beard is Aaron Y. Zelin. Zelin is the Richard Borow fellow at The Washington Institute and also Liason between the the White House and Syrian rebel groups.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    March 17, 2013 6:51 PM
    Why should the US and EU scared to offer military equipments, while the Syrian opposition forces are already accumulating offensive weapons from the defeated army of Assad in the north and east of Syria. It will be better to provide anti-aircraft guns and missiles and anti-tank weapons to the opposition forces so that they themselves can declare a no-fly zone in Syria, without the direct military intervention of the US, EU and/or NATO. How can the Syrian opposition forces survive if the military airlift of lethal weapons from Iran and Russia continue to flow into the hands of Assad? The US, EU and NATO, the mute spectators of the carnage in Syria by the Assad forces, is to be condemned for inaction. France and Britain is going to break away from the policy decisions of US and EU not to supply lethal weapons to the Syrian opposition forces, while the paper tigers US and EU take a nap, especially Obama and Merkel.
    In Response

    by: Syria's Pride from: USA
    March 17, 2013 7:37 PM
    This is BS, no one leaves this kind of fire power, where are the bodies? where are the bases? how did this type of fire power get to a place with no buildings around? who captured it and how? no one will say.. that's because it's all BS.. they want you think they just found this stuffl.. Stop the crime against Syria.. get these morons out of the country, let the goverment's heavy hands deal with them all.

    by: musawi melake
    March 17, 2013 5:57 PM
    It's been a classical story in many such govt. versus insurgent war, that the state(s) that supports the insurgence rutinely supply weapons and instruct the guerrillas to issue statements about capturing govt. weaponary. This is to conceal the backer involments comming into public domain. Yesterday there were talks of Eu supplies and unilateral French supply along with American hand outs of "non leathal weapons", and now we here all these fanfare capture of Assad's arsenal, good! Free-Masons are very good at these kinds of årpåaganda!

    by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
    March 17, 2013 4:33 PM
    I don't see how Osama Kadi who is based in Washington D.C. can be a leader of any sort in Syria. If anything, his effort reminds me the American Mahmud Jibril who suddenly became prime minister in Libya after Gaddafi, only to be ousted as a possible U.S. transplanted leader. He was allowed to register a party for elections, but he was not allowed to run himself for office during the election - under an ultimatum by Libyan militia commanders to the Libyan Transitional Council. I expect the same to happen in Syria with any Syrian American returning home to hijack the revolution.

    The post-Assad Syrian leadership would be determined by rebel commanders, not by civilian leaders living outside Syria who are sponsored by foreign powers, and are supposedly elected by "councils" of Syrian notables. In a revolution the only notable that matter are commanders in the field, and they would appoint the leadership of the country after Assad meet his fate.

    I am sure nobody want to see Syria becoming a 1990's Algeria. The best way to achieve that is to respect the rebels and let them decide the new course of the Syria after Assad. It is their revolution, and it should be their priviledge - not the priviledge of the West, Russia, Iran or the Gulf states! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    by: Wallace J Bradley from: USA
    March 17, 2013 4:15 PM
    Hopefully this will stop the calls to arm these terrorists. They can arm themselves by taking arms from the Syrian government. Hopefully they will use most of their weapons up killing each other before exporting the remainder to murder people in other countries.
    In Response

    by: Walton from: USA
    March 17, 2013 4:42 PM
    These al-Qaeda terrorists will use this weapons cache to murder Americans someday. Assad might not be best for Syria but he's far better than these Saudi-funded Wahhabi terrorists who will murder all religious minorities in Syria and attack US interest in the region.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.