Jul 22 2012 - 13:00

Syrian army overruns Damascus as Turkey deploys missiles on Syria border

Syrian army overruns Damascus as Turkey deploys missiles on Syria border Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار Damascus,overruns,army,Syrian,
Syrian army overruns Damascus as Turkey deploys missiles on Syria border
Lebanon News
Members of a Syrian army division under the command of President Bashar al-Assad's brother drove rebels out of the northern Damascus district of Barzeh on Sunday and summarily executed several young men, a witness and opposition activists said.   

"At least 20 Fourth Division tanks and hundreds of its members entered Barzeh this afternoon. I saw troops go into the home of 26-year-old Issa al-Arab. They left him dead with two bullets in his head. Seventeen-year-old Issa Wahbeh was pulled from a shelter and beaten and killed. Four other males in their 20s were killed this way," opposition activist Abu Kais said by phone from the district.

Earlier on Sunday, Turkey intensified its troops’ deployment along its border with Syria by sending surface-to-air missile batteries and armored personnel carriers to Mardin in northeastern Turkey, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

Syrian government forces hammered Deir al-Zor with artillery and mortar fire on Sunday while helicopters fired rockets into residential districts in an effort to prevent rebels from consolidating control over the major eastern city, witnesses said.

Syrian rebels earlier said they had captured a border crossing with Turkey at Bab al-Salam, north of the city of Aleppo - the third frontier point with Turkey they have seized in four days from President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
"The Free Syrian Army has taken control of the Bab al-Salam crossing, but Assad's forces are bombarding our positions from afar," said Ahmed Zaidan, spokesman for an opposition group called the Higher Council of the Revolution's Leadership.

The rebels battled Assad's forces near the main intelligence base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday as helicopter gunships bombarded several districts of Damascus in an effort to drive out insurgents, witnesses said.
Fighting raged in other parts of Aleppo, Syria's main commercial and industrial hub, while in the capital Assad's forces appeared to clawing back territory, driving rebels from Mezze district, residents and opposition activists said.
Elite Fourth Division troops were besieging the northern Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh, they said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 19,000 people have been killed in violence in Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt last year.

Syrian troops clashed with rebels in the city of Aleppo for a second day on Saturday, forcing inhabitants to flee to safer areas in some of the fiercest fighting to date in the heart of the country's northern commercial hub, activists said.

Amateur video has emerged that was said to show protesters hitting a statue of President Bashar Assad's father, Hafez with stones late on Friday.
Hafez Assad crushed a Sunni uprising in 1982 by shelling the town of Hama when he was Syria's president.

The fighting suggested Assad was losing his grip on one more traditional bastion of support.An Aleppo-based activist said dozens of fighters from the rag-tag Free Syrian Army entered Aleppo from the countryside and were now fighting regime troops from inside.
On another note, Syrian and Palestinian activists announced that a number of Palestinian refugees living in Damascus joined the Syrian opposition troops that are fighting the Syrian regime, adding that some of them carried weapons to fight alongside the rebels.      

Also on Sunday, the Turkish police fired tear gas at Syrian refugees who were rallying on Sunday in protest of the water and food shortages in their camps located along the Syrian-Turkish border.

International developments and stances

The Arab League Council will hold an emergency meeting of foreign ministers on Syria in the Qatari capital on Sunday amid an escalating armed conflict between the government forces and rebels.

Separately, AFP quoted a foreign ministry diplomat as saying that one more Syrian general crossed into Turkey overnight, bringing to 25 the number of generals who have fled the unrest in Syria.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia will immediately evacuate its nationals from Syria and shut its mission there in response to the worsening security situation.

In turn, a top U.S. official said on Sunday that Washington has given $100 million in aid to Jordan to help host tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled the unrest back home and taken refuge in the kingdom.
Later on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister stressed that the situation in Syria is calm, adding that Iranians present there are not facing problems.

Separately, an Israeli military announced on Sunday that President Bashar al-Assad is still in the Syrian capital Damascus and retains the loyalty of his armed forces in the face of an advancing rebellion.

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