Sunday, September 23, 2012

Syria aircraft pound rebels as they claim control

ATMA, Syria — Regime aircraft hammered insurgent bastions nationwide on Sunday as rebels said they now control most of the country and have moved their command centre from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria.

With deadly violence raging across Syria, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi prepared to brief the UN Security Council on Monday about talks he had with both President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition.

Brahimi discussed Syria with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday and both agreed that the 18-month crisis was "a steadily increasing threat to regional peace and stability," a statement said.

On the ground, at least 40 people were killed on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, as Syrian aircraft carried out strikes on rebel bastions, especially in central Homs province, Deir Ezzor in the east and areas of Damascus.

Apartment blocks in Albu Kamal, a town in oil-rich Deir Ezzor province, were targeted as rebels and soldiers battled on the ground in several districts of the town on the Iraqi border.

"The insurgents are trying to wrest control of this strategic town" said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. Losing Albu Kamal would be "a deadly blow for the regime," he added. Read More