Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria Rebels Seize Village Near Aleppo, Assad Forces Deny Targeting Camp - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

A coalition of Syrian rebels and militants seized a village from regime forces near Aleppo overnight, a monitoring group and rebel sources said on Friday, gaining important ground near the city where the U.S. and Russia are trying to de-escalate the war.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 73 people had been killed in the battle for Khan Touman, some 15 km (9 miles) southwest of Aleppo in a location near the Damascus-Aleppo highway.

Among the dead were at least 43 insurgents and 30 pro-regime fighters, said the Britain-based monitoring group.

While multiple rebel sources said the town had been captured, a Syrian army source denied Khan Touman had fallen.

The attack was launched by an alliance of Islamist insurgents known as Jaish al-Fatah, including Al-Nusra Front, which has rejected diplomatic efforts to halt the war and promote peace talks.

The offensive signals the reemergence of the powerful Jaish al-Fatah.

The Observatory said other non-jihadist rebels fought for Khan Touman on the side of the coalition, too.

Washington and Moscow this week brokered a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo itself, where some 300 people have been killed in the last two weeks in regime- and rebel-held areas as a result of air strikes and shelling.

“Throughout the night the battles were very intense,” said Abu al-Baraa al-Hamawi, a fighter from the Ajnad al-Sham group, one of the factions taking part in the attack. “Areas south of Khan Touman have been liberated,” he told Reuters.

Aleppo-area opposition media activist Bahaa al-Halaby said the insurgents took control of Khan Touman around 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, Bashar Assad’s forces denied that regime warplanes had conducted air strikes targeting a camp for displaced people near the Turkish border on Thursday which killed at least 28 people.

“There is no truth to reports … about the Syrian air force targeting a camp for the displaced in the Idlib countryside,” the forces said in a statement on Friday carried by state media.

The Observatory said Thursday women and children were among the casualties from the strike that hit the camp in rebel-held territory near Sarmada.

France on Friday condemned the air strikes, demanding a probe into what it termed a “revolting and unacceptable act that could amount to a war crime or crime against humanity.”

“Those who are responsible will have to be brought to justice,” France’s foreign ministry spokesman said.

Next week, France will host a meeting of ministers from countries that support Syrian opposition groups, together with Syrian opposition figure Riad Hijab, to seek ways to break the political and military deadlock in the country.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube