Quantcast
Latest Stories

Syrian rebels capture key town near Jordan border


In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian military tank shells a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March 28, 2013. AP/Shaam News Network via AP video

BEIRUT  — Syrian rebels on Friday captured a strategic town near the border with Jordan after a day of fierce clashes that killed at least 38 people, activists said, as opposition fighters expand their presence in the south, considered a gateway to Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 rebels were among the dead in the fighting in and around Dael. The town lies less than 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Jordanian border in Daraa province, where the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began two years ago.

The rebel gains have coincided with what regional officials and military experts say is a sharp increase in weapons shipments to opposition fighters by Arab governments in coordination with the U.S. in the hopes of readying a push into Assad’s stronghold in the capital, Damascus.

Although rebels control wide areas in northern Syria that border Turkey, the Jordanian frontier is only about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Damascus, or a third of the distance to the Turkish border.

The battle for Dael came as authorities ordered an investigation into a mortar attack on Damascus University that killed at least 10 students on Thursday, state media said. The attack was the deadliest since a wave of mortar shells began hitting the capital last month, puncturing the sense of normalcy the regime has tried to cultivate in the city.

It was unclear who fired the mortar rounds. The government blamed “terrorists,” its blanket term for those fighting Assad’s regime. Anti-regime activists accused the regime of staging the attack to turn civilians — many of whom in Damascus are already wary of the opposition fighters — against the rebels.

“Rebels now control wide areas in the Daraa countryside,’” said Rami Abdul-Rahman who heads the Observatory. “Every area that goes out of government control is important.”

Syrian activist Maher Jamous, who is from Dael but currently lives in the United Arab Emirates, said that despite the steady advances and the latest rebel victory in Dael, the regime still maintains a strong presence in the strategic province that leads to the capital.

Jamous said the capture of Dael increases the pressure on the regime.

The regime is known to have posted elite troops in Daraa province, which separates Damascus from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that the Jewish state captured in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

Jamous said Dael has a population of 40,000, making it one of the bigger towns in the primarily agricultural region, which is dotted with small family farms. He added that the town fell briefly into the opposition’s hands in the early days of the uprising, but was quickly retaken by regime forces in May 2011.

Amateur videos posted online by activists, showed rebels in the streets of Dael and the bodies of dead soldiers lying on the ground. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting on the events depicted.

In other areas, the Observatory said heavy clashes were taking place between regime forces and fighters renewing their attempts to storm a strategic military facility, known as the 17th Division base, north of the city of Raqqa that was captured by rebels earlier this month.

The division is considered one of the most important remaining regime strongholds in the northern province that borders Turkey, the Observatory said. It added that warplanes carried out several air raids in the area.

The Observatory said regime forces bombarded the Damascus suburb of Adra, while the government al Al-Ikhbariya TV said troops killed “many terrorists” in the area which is close to one of the main jails in the country.

The Aleppo Media Center and the Observatory reported clashes, shelling and attacks by helicopter gunships near the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and commercial center.

Syria’s crisis began in March 2011 with protests demanding Assad’s ouster. Following a harsh government crackdown, the uprising steadily grew more violent until it became a full-fledged civil war. The U.N. says more than 70,000 people have been killed since.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Human rights , Jordan , Maher Jamous , rebels , Syria




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement