News / Middle East

Activists: Syrian Rebels Capture Northern Town

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft artillery weapon during an air strike in Binsh near Idlib, December 23, 2012.
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft artillery weapon during an air strike in Binsh near Idlib, December 23, 2012.
VOA News
Syrian rights activists say rebels have captured a northern town near the border with Turkey, driving out government troops after a siege that lasted several weeks.

The activists say the rebels seized the last military base in the Idlib provincial town of Harem early Tuesday, extending rebel control over northern areas adjacent to Turkey. There was no independent confirmation because Syria restricts reporting by foreign journalists.

International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi continued his visit to Damascus Tuesday, meeting members of an opposition group tolerated by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

After the talks, the head of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change said Brahimi briefed the delegation on his efforts to secure an American-Russian agreement on resolving Syria's 21-month long conflict. Hassan Abdul Azim expressed support for what he called a moderate and political solution that would "rescue the Syrian people."

Azim's group is not part of the exiled Syrian National Coalition that recently won recognition from more than 110 states as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

  • A child uses a megaphone to lead others in chanting Free Syrian Army slogans during a demonstration in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, January 4, 2013.
  • Demonstrators step on a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest against his regime in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district, January 4, 2013.
  • Damaged buildings and shops with members of the Syrian army patrolling in the distance in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Men stand amidst wreckage and debris after a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Barzeh al-Balad district in Damascus, in this handout photograph released by SANA on January 3, 2013.
  • A father reacts after the death of two of his children whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters stand near a fire after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013.
  • Residents wear masks as they search for bodies after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria, January 3, 2013
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army stand behind a machine gun turret with a flag reading "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" in Aleppo's Bustan Al Qaser district, Syria, January 2, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter asks a child to move away from his house's window as a security measure in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr district December 30, 2012.
  • A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city, December 30, 2012.

The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council were among those to recognize the exiled coalition. After holding a summit in the Bahraini capital, Manama, they issued a statement Tuesday, urging the international community to take quick and serious action to stop massacres in Syria. The GCC also called for humanitarian aid to be sent to the Syrian people.

GCC member Kuwait said Monday it plans to host an international conference in late January to try to solve Syria's growing humanitarian crisis. Speaking on the sidelines of the Manama summit, Kuwaiti leader Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon originally proposed the conference.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Brahimi met with Assad on Monday, saying afterward that he remains worried about the Syrian conflict and providing no signs of any breakthrough. Syria's state news agency SANA quoted the president as saying he supports any peace effort that protects Syria's sovereignty and independence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Carlos .. from: USA
December 25, 2012 10:46 PM
I have been to Aleppo .. President Obama's cowardice to aid the Syrian people has meant the murder and maiming of tens of thousands .. it is despicable abandonment of the brave and good people of Syria ..

by: Don from: WV
December 25, 2012 10:41 PM
Rebels? Activists? Can we say Terrorist? and Islamist? Why not speak the truth?
In Response

by: Carl from: USA
December 26, 2012 9:52 AM
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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