[QODLink]
Middle East

Syria rebels 'capture most of police academy'

More than 200 troops and rebels reported killed in fighting for one of last regime bastions in western Aleppo province.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2013 17:33
Police academy in Khan al-Assal town remains one of the regime's last bastions in the west of Aleppo [YouTube]

Syrian rebels have seized control of most of a police academy in the northern province of Aleppo in fierce fighting that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday at least 200 troops and rebels were killed after eight days of clashes in Khan al-Assal town.

The UK-based group said at least 120 army troops were among those killed in the battle for one of the last remaining bastions of the President Bashar al-Assad government in western Aleppo province. On Sunday, rebels killed more than 34 troops at the facility.

A police source in Aleppo confirmed that much of the academy had fallen into rebel hands, reporting that 40 security forces were believed dead. As many as 300 rebels were among those killed, he said.

The reports of violence came as opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib visited rebel-held areas in the outskirts of Aleppo.

The trip by the head of Syrian National Coalition was intended to strengthen ties between the main opposition coalition and rebels inside the country, an aide said.

Khatib, who fled Syria last year after being imprisoned several times, entered northern Syria from Turkey and toured the towns of Jarablus and Minbij.

Elsewhere, two mortars hit an area near Umayyad square in the heart of Damascus, close to a duty-free zone and customs offices, Syrian state media said, reporting no casualties.

The affected area is home to the state television building, the Assad Library and the army general command headquarters.

Also on Sunday, rebels in the southern province of Daraa seized an artillery battalion in Jamla village near the armistice line with Israel, according to the Observatory.

Eight rebel fighters were killed in the battle, the group said, adding that the insurgents summarily executed the commander of the captured battalion.

In an unprecedented escalation of violence in the coastal province of Latakia, a regime stronghold, at least 15 rebel fighters were killed in a battle against troops, the Observatory said.

The army seized eight small villages in Al-Alwan area of the Jabal Turkman region of Latakia that had fallen into rebel hands in late 2012, a military official told the AFP news agency.

376

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.