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Breaking News Forum Syria rebels take control of strategic southern base at News Forum - By Erika Solomon BEIRUT - Rebels seized an air defense base near Syria's strategic southern international highway on Saturday, activists ...

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Old 03-23-2013, 11:12 AM   #1
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Default Syria rebels take control of strategic southern base

By Erika Solomon BEIRUT - Rebels seized an air defense base near Syria's strategic southern international highway on Saturday, activists said, a gain that could bolster opposition fighters trying to secure supply routes to the capital Damascus. Syria's southern provinces bordering Jordan and Israel have become an increasingly significant battleground as the capital comes into play, with President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his loyalist militias hitting back hard to prevent rebel advances. ...




Syria rebels take control of strategic southern base
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:45 PM   #2
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Obama gonna be mad `bout Syria usin' chemical weapons...

Syria Fighting Rages, More Chemical Attacks Reported
May 27, 2013 — Heavy fighting raged around the strategic Syrian border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus on Monday and further reports surfaced of chemical weapons attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on rebel areas.
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The Syrian military pounded eastern suburbs of Damascus with air strikes and artillery and loud explosions echoed around al-Nabak, 80 km (50 miles) north of the capital, where fighting has cut the highway running north to the central city of Homs, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said. Government offensives in recent weeks are widely seen as a campaign to strengthen Assad's negotiating position before a proposed international peace conference sponsored by the United States and Russia and planned for next month.

Opposition activists said Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were pressing a sustained assault on Qusair, a town long used by insurgents as a way station for arms and other supplies from Lebanon. For Assad, Qusair is a crucial link between Damascus and loyalist strongholds on the Mediterranean coast. Recapturing the town, in central Homs province, could also sever connections between rebel-held areas in the north and south of Syria. Each side gave conflicting accounts of the fighting.

The Homs branch of the National Defense Forces, formed of pro-Assad militiamen, said on its Facebook page that government forces had now divided Qusair into four sectors and had made major gains in all but the one that includes the town center. “All of the mercenaries' supply routes were cut off completely,” it said, referring to the rebels. Islamist rebel groups, including the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, said they had sent reinforcements to Qusair. But one opposition activist said these were stuck on the outskirts and had yet to link up with the town's defenders. “So far they are just fighting and dying, their assault hasn't resulted in much yet, unfortunately,” the activist said. Rebels posted a video of fighters in what they said was central Qusair. “We will keep fighting to the last man here who can say 'there is no god but God',” one insurgent said.

Hezbollah's deepening involvement in Qusair has raised the prospect of renewed civil war in neighboring Lebanon, where two rockets hit the Shi'ite Muslim movement's stronghold in south Beirut on Sunday and one was fired from south Lebanon towards Israel. The rockets struck hours after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah promised that his anti-Israel guerrillas, fighting alongside Assad's forces, would win whatever the cost. A Lebanese security source said another 107mm rocket, which did not go off, had been aimed at Beirut airport. The launch sites were near Aitat, in the hills just south of the capital. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced “deep concern” at Hezbollah's admitted combat role and the risk that the Syrian conflict will spill into Lebanon and other neighboring states.

‘Chemical attack’ affects dozens
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EU Amends Syria Embargo to Allow Arming Rebels
May 27, 2013 - British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the 27-nation EU has agreed to amend an arms embargo on Syria to allow the arming of Syrian rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
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Hague announced the agreement in Brussels Monday, at the end of marathon EU negotiations that exposed internal divisions about how much support to provide the rebels.

Britain and France have been the main advocates of arming the Syrian rebels, while Austria and other nations had resisted such a move, fearing it could worsen Syria's civil war.

In an apparent British concession to Austria, Hague said London has "no immediate plans" to send weapons to the rebels after the amended embargo takes effect on Saturday. He said the current embargo's ban on weapons transfers to the Syrian government will remain in force, as will other EU sanctions against Damascus.

EU Amends Syria Embargo to Allow Arming Rebels
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:04 PM   #3
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Ahu Akbar!...

Airstrikes hit new Syrian Islamist group
Nov. 6, 2014 | It was a diversion from the coalition's prior concentration on Islamic State targets.
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Overnight airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria hit the Islamist rebel group Ahrar al Sham for the first time. One strike hit the group's Babsaqa headquarters, near the Syrian border with Turkey, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It reported two children were killed and others injured, and witnesses reported a large explosion and a building destroyed.

Ahrar al Sham, a Sunni Muslim group, is not on the U.S. list of designated terrorist organizations and has not been a part in the conflict involving the Islamic State. Its members sometimes fight alongside the radical al-Nusra Front, but since much of Ahrar al Sham's leadership was killed in an explosion in September, U.S. officials are unsure of its current allegiance or motives.


Coalition airstikes target the Ahrar al Sham militant group for the first time.

Airstrikes against rebel militants in Syria -- regardless of their affiliation or their position as radical or moderate groups -- risk complicating relations with groups only interested in the downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They could draw the United States into the conflict between the government and militant groups with varied interests, the Washington Post noted.

Ahrar al Sham are seen by many Syrians as protectors and moderates, and the airstrikes could be regarded as U.S. attempts to support the Bashar regime. A senior U.S. official said all airstrikes Thursday targeted the Khorasan group of militants, an extremist group tied to al-Qaida believed to be plotting attacks against Western targets. The move by the coalition is seen as a change in tactics; prior airstrikes have targeted Islamic State troops, equipment and headquarters exclusively.

Airstrikes in Syria target Ahrar al Sham militants - UPI.com
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U.S. airstrikes reportedly kill al-Qaida bomb-maker David Drugeon
Nov. 6, 2014 | U.S. airstrikes targeted the Khorasan Group in Syria reportedly killed French jihadist and bomb-maker David Drudgeon.
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French jihadist David Drugeon, who was a bomb-maker for al-Qaida's Khorasan Group in Syria, has reportedly been killed in a U.S. airstrike. The airstrike was conducted Wednesday night near the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, striking a vehicle believed to be transporting Drugeon, a U.S. defense official familiar with the operation told CNN.

U.S. Central Command reported Thursday that "U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes last night against five Khorasan Group targets in the vicinity of Sarmada, Syria, using bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft." "We are still assessing the outcome of the attack, but have initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several Khorasan Group vehicles and buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas, IED-making facilities and training facilities," CENTCOM noted.


U.S. Air Force Maj. Gena Fedoruk and 1st Lt. Marcel Trott take off from in a KC-135 Stratotanker from a base in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility in support of a mission to conduct airstrikes in Syria


Earlier in the week, the Pentagon gave no indication the operation was in the offing. During a briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby was asked to comment about follow-on strikes targeting the Khorasan Group since September, when U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria began. Kirby said Tuesday "I do not have anything to announce with respect to individual leaders and their -- and whatever happened to them." "That said, the Khorasan Group, we still believe remains a dangerous entity, that they still have desires and designs to attack Western targets, and we take that threat very, very seriously. I think I wouldn't go beyond that."

U.S. military forces undertook a series of airstrikes against the Khorasan Group, comprised of senior al-Qaida veterans, in Syria on Sept. 22. According to a senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity a day after the initial airstrikes, the president issued the strike order based on intelligence assessments that the group was planning an imminent attack. "These senior Syria-based operatives were nearing the execution phase in Europe or the homeland." It is possible Drudgeon was involved in those attack plans and is believed to have been involved in facilitating the transfer of foreign fighters to and from Europe.

Al-Qaida bomb-maker David Drugeon reportedly killed by U.S. - UPI.com
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