News / Middle East

    Syria Rebels Seize al-Qaida Base in Aleppo

    • Syrian rebel fighters hold their weapons as they walk along a street in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter looks on as he holds the Syrian opposition flag during a protest against Syria's president and fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A boy holds bread as he walks in front of the Syrian opposition flag during a protest against Syria's president and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • Bystanders look on as crews begin clearing the wreckage of a car bomb that exploded near a school in Al-Kafat, Syria, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • The remains of a car destroyed by a suicide bomb near the front of a damaged building in Al-Kafat, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • People survey the damage to a building destroyed by a suicide car bomb in Al-Kafat, Syria,  Jan. 9, 2014.
    • Damaged buildings line a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 9, 2014. 
    • Free Syrian Army fighters are deployed in Kadi Askar in Aleppo after they claimed that they seized it from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to launch a mortar towards fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant from a street in the Kadi Askar neighborhood of Aleppo, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Men help a wounded boy who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus, Jan. 7, 2014.
    Images from Syria
    VOA News
    Syrian activists say rebels in the northern city of Aleppo have seized control of a hospital that had been used as a base by their al-Qaida-linked rivals, as infighting among groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad raged into a sixth day.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a loose coalition of moderate and Islamist rebel groups took control of the base Wednesday after a series of strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    The jihadist group's headquarters in Aleppo was overrun by opposition fighters, who reportedly freed dozens of prisoners held there.

    One of the triumphant fighters gave this account.

    "Today, January the 8th, Alhamdulillah. We have liberated the building of the ISIL which claims that it is Islamic state and we have found around 70 dead prisoners, including journalists, and from the FSA from all brigades and divisions. These people claim to be Muslims, but they don't represent Islam."

    The developments came after ISIL's spokesman, known as Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, issued a defiant message late Tuesday urging his forces to crush the rival rebels.

    Adnani also warned that ISIL had "declared and begun a war" against the mainstream opposition Syrian National Coalition and the military command of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

    Earlier, al-Qaida's official affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, called for a truce among rebel factions, saying the infighting only benefits Assad's government.   

    The al-Nusra Front is largely made up of Syrians, whereas foreign fighters dominate ISIL.

    The Observatory said the clashes since Friday among the Syrian rebel factions have killed at least 385 people, including 56 civilians.

    In Istanbul, the Syrian National Coalition postponed a decision on whether to attend U.N.-hosted peace talks involving the Assad government later this month in Switzerland.

    Amid fierce debate, the coalition's general assembly decided to delay making a decision on participation until January 17, just five days before the conference.

    Also Wednesday, the global chemical weapons watchdog urged Syria to intensify efforts to get its stockpile of raw materials for poison gas and nerve agents to the port of Latakia, so it can be shipped out of the country and destroyed.
     
    The appeal by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was made a day after the first batch of toxic chemicals - believed to be precursors for mustard gas and sarin - was loaded onto a Danish cargo vessel and shipped toward international waters.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters

    • Syrian rebel fighters hold their weapons as they walk along a street in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter looks on as he holds the Syrian opposition flag during a protest against Syria's president and fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A boy holds bread as he walks in front of the Syrian opposition flag during a protest against Syria's president and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • Bystanders look on as crews begin clearing the wreckage of a car bomb that exploded near a school in Al-Kafat, Syria, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • The remains of a car destroyed by a suicide bomb near the front of a damaged building in Al-Kafat, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • People survey the damage to a building destroyed by a suicide car bomb in Al-Kafat, Syria,  Jan. 9, 2014.
    • Damaged buildings line a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 9, 2014. 
    • Free Syrian Army fighters are deployed in Kadi Askar in Aleppo after they claimed that they seized it from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to launch a mortar towards fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant from a street in the Kadi Askar neighborhood of Aleppo, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Men help a wounded boy who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus, Jan. 7, 2014.

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    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    January 08, 2014 5:47 PM
    Where are the human rights watchers when the al-Qaeda use a hospital in Aleppo, Iraq, as their military headquarters and prison, killing all the 70 prisoners on their exit?

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