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News, October 2013
Syria air strikes target rebel assault on key bases, October 8, 2013
Syria air strikes target rebel assault on key bases
France 24, 08 October 2013 - 14H37
- Syrian regime war planes on Tuesday launched strikes against rebels in northwestern Idlib province after they began an assault against two key military bases there, a monitoring group said.
"War planes carried out two air strikes on areas in the town of Maaret al-Numan as clashes continued around the Wadi Deif military base between rebels and regime troops," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The group said regime forces also bombed the areas of Maarshamsha and Deir al-Sharqi in the Maaret al-Numan region, causing casualties.
The strikes came a day after rebel fighters launched a major assault against the two bases in Syria's Idlib province, which is largely controlled by the opposition.
The offensive -- dubbed "The Earthquake" -- aims to seize the Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh bases, which rebels have laid siege to for almost a year.
Wadi Deif, a garrison housing a large quantity of weapons, lies to the east of Maaret al-Numan, and Hamidiyeh, the last military stronghold in the region still in regime hands, lies to the south of the town.
Clashes continued overnight, and the Observatory said at least 10 regime troops and five rebels had been killed since the assault began.
On Monday, the Observatory said rebels had captured an officer and three soldiers in a raid in Hamidiyeh.
Idlib and Maaret al-Numan activists Tuesday posted a picture on Facebook of a man said to be a captured officer, giving his name as Brigadier General Nasser Salah al-Din.
The photo showed the man, his face bloodied and a bandage wrapped around his head, with his eyes clothes and his upper half naked.
Some 25 brigades and small, mainly Islamist groups are taking part in the assault, including Liwa al-Umma, an Islamist brigade that includes Libyan fighters, according to the Observatory.
Rebel fighters seized the town of Maaret al-Numan last October, cutting off a key regime supply route running between the capital Damascus and Aleppo in the north.
Regime forces have regularly tried to recapture the town, which is a key rebel stronghold in the Idlib region.
Elsewhere in the country, the Observatory reported regime air strikes on Moadamiyet al-Sham, a suburb in the southwest of Damascus, causing casualties.
It also said the death toll in a Monday raid on the town of Shaddadeh, in the northeastern province of Hasakeh, had risen to eight.
Anti-regime activists in Syria say government forces have continued to shell civilian areas of Daraa, in the southwest.
Video footage uploaded to YouTube appears to show rebels firing on government positions and parts of the city being shelled
In the Idlib region in Northwest Syria rebels launched a major assault on two key military bases, killing 10 soldiers.
Syria’s main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, has been laying out its conditions for taking part in the Geneva II peace conference.
The US and Russia want to bring together the opposition and the Syrian government to talk about a possible transitional government.
The SNC says Arab countries must be present as negotiators and it rejected any involvement by Iran.
Ahmad al-Jarba, the SNC president said: “We have requested that before any negotiation process, the Arab and Islamic states must be present to oversee it, especially countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.”
Meanwhile President Assad has been praised by the US for starting to destroy his chemical weapons arsenal. The opposition say the world is simply giving more time to Assad to kill more people with conventional weapons.
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