AMMAN (Reuters) – Armed with machine guns, black-clad al Qaeda fighters drove their pick-ups calmly into the northern Syrian town and took over its imposing agriculture ministry building.
They beheaded a sniper from a rival rebel unit, displayed his head in the main square and put roadblocks on major routes.
AMMAN, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Armed with machine guns, black-clad
al Qaeda fighters drove their pick-ups calmly into the northern
Syrian town and took over its imposing agriculture ministry
They beheaded a sniper from a rival rebel unit, displayed
his head in the main square and put roadblocks on major routes.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist fighters in Syria have joined forces to form what may be the biggest rebel army in the country, further undermining Western-backed military commanders and potentially challenging al Qaeda.
The announcement on Friday of a common leadership for the Islamic Front, an amalgam of six major Islamist groups which had earlier declared an intention to merge, coincided with accounts of a battle on the Turkish border between rival Islamists that ended with al Qaeda allies taking control of the town of Atma.
AMMAN (Reuters) – An al Qaeda affiliate has captured a northern Syrian town on the border with Turkey after ousting a moderate Islamist rebel unit and detained its leader, activists said on Thursday.
The fall of the town of Atma, a crossing point for weapons and for Syrian rebels, signals disarray among some of the rebel groups, which are ceding ground to hardline Islamist units.
AMMAN/ARSAL, Lebanon (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fired rocket and artillery barrages on a besieged mountain town near Lebanon on Monday in a push to capture the strategic area following advances against rebels in Damascus and in the north of Syria.
In a separate setback for the fighters, a prominent rebel leader died overnight in a Turkish hospital of wounds suffered in an air raid on Aleppo. Abdelqader Saleh, head of the Qatar-backed Sunni Islamist al-Tawhid Brigades, had been working on regrouping fighters in Aleppo before he was killed.
AMMAN (Reuters) – Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad captured the southern Damascus suburb of Hujaira on Wednesday, part of a broader advance that has brought him major gains south of the capital before proposed international peace talks.
Syrian state television and al-Manar, the channel of the Lebanese group Hezbollah whose fighters helped drive rebels out Hujaira, broadcast live footage showing soldiers in control of otherwise empty streets flanked by shelled buildings and ruins.
AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian government forces backed by foreign Shi’ite Muslim militia advanced on rebels in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, bent on recapturing districts from opposition brigades weakened by infighting, activists said.
They said that rebels saw the threat of President Bashar al-Assad wresting back Aleppo, Syria’s former commercial hub and once most populous city, as so grave that Islamist brigades, including an al Qaeda affiliate, had declared an emergency and summoned all fighters to head to the fronts.
ISTANBUL/AMMAN (Reuters) – The Syrian National Coalition named a provisional government for rebel-held areas on Tuesday, despite U.S. misgivings, members of the fractious Western-backed opposition grouping said in Istanbul.
Washington and its European allies hope a proposed peace conference in Geneva will produce an interim government that can help end the armed conflict raging in Syria since 2011 – a scenario they fear the coalition’s decision could disrupt.
AMMAN (Reuters) – The United States sought on Friday to persuade the Syrian opposition to agree to attend international peace talks in Geneva, a day before President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents gather to decide on the issue, opposition sources said.
U.S. envoy Robert Ford met the senior leadership of the Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul to push them to approve the talks, which aim to end Syria’s two-year-old civil war by creating a transitional governing body, coalition members said.
AMMAN, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The Syrian army and loyalist
fighters on Thursday captured a strategic southern suburb of
Damascus, threatening rebel control of the wider area and
cutting off a supply route for insurgents around the capital,
opposition activists said.
The town of Sbeineh is the third rebel neighbourhood to fall
to government forces since the army, aided by Shi’ite militias
from Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, launched an offensive last month
aimed at breaking resistance to President Bashar al-Assad around
Damascus, the sources said.