Saturday, September 1, 2012

Syrian rebels hit back at Assad's air power

(Reuters) - Rebels seized an air defence facility and attacked a military airport in eastern Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group said, hitting back at an air force on which President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly relying to crush his opponents.

The attacks in eastern oil-producing Deir al-Zor province follow rebel strikes against military airports in the Aleppo and Idlib areas, close to the border with Turkey.

Syria's leader, battling a 17-month-old uprising in which 20,000 people have been killed, has lost control of rural areas in northern, eastern and southern regions and has resorted to helicopter gunships and fighter jets to subdue his foes.

The aerial bombardment has driven fresh waves of refugees into neighbouring countries, reviving Turkish calls for "safe zones" to be set up on Syrian territory - appeals ignored by a divided U.N. Security Council and by Western powers reluctant to commit the military forces needed to secure such zones. Read More