Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, June 23, 2017 12:27:39 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Heavy clashes rock Damascus after surprise rebel attack

photo by Agency photo

Monitors say the rebel assault marks a shift in strategy near Damascus.

By
21st-Mar-2017       Readers ( 261 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Al Jazeera News :
Heavy clashes rocked eastern districts of the Syrian capital on Sunday after rebel fighters launched a surprise assault on government forces, a monitor and state television said.
Steady shelling and sniper fire could be heard across Damascus on Sunday as rebel factions allied with former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham launched an attack on government positions in the city's east.
The clashes centered on a government-held gap between two besieged opposition enclaves, the Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. The Ahrar al-Sham rebel group said fighters had "liberated" the area. Tahrir al-Sham - a umbrella group of rebels formed by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham last month - and the independent Failaq al-Rahman group also participated in the attack.
Syrian state media said the military had repelled an attack by one group after "terrorists" infiltrated through tunnels in the middle of the night. Rebels detonated two large car bombs at 5:20am on Sunday close to the Jobar neighborhood.  Tahrir al-Sham claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rebels then advanced into the nearby Abbasiyn Square area, seizing several buildings and firing a barrage of rockets into multiple Damascus neighbourhoods, according to Rami Abdelrahman of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Government forces responded with nearly a dozen air strikes on Jobar, he added. Al Jazeera's Mohamed Al Jazaeri, reporting from near Damascus, said that at least 15 civilians had been killed after government forces shelled residential neighborhoods in Eastern Ghouta, but that the fighting had since become less intense. "This advance is the largest for opposition groups in over a year and a half," Al Jazaeri said. "Military operations have not stopped in the area but it has calmed down. There remains sniper shooting from both sides and regime forces are shelling Jobar neighborhood, as well as other areas controlled recently by the opposition." Control of Jobar - which has been a battleground district for more than two years - is divided between rebels and allied fighters on one side, and government forces on the other. It is one of three pockets in the Syrian capital still in opposition hands.
The recent fighting has resulted in rebel control of industrial areas in Al-Qaboun in addition to parts of Abbasiyn breaking a siege on the area and linking it to Jobar neighborhood, which is connected to Eastern Ghouta, Al Jazaeri said. Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria at the University of Oklahoma, told Al Jazeera that the offensive had taken the government by surprise and that its response was likely to be very significant.
"I don't think it's going to change the trajectory of the war, which has been seeing the regime make important gains and the opposition getting increasingly restricted. But it shows the opposition is far from dead. It shows also that this new combination led by [Tahrir al-Sham] is very potent," Landis said.
"The regime is going to realise that it cannot allow these two areas to linger there because they are beachheads for this Tahrir a-Sham group to make inroads into the Damascus area," he said, adding the government would likely withdraw some forces from areas such as Homs and Hama to refocus on Damascus.
"It means that the fight is still on, there are many fronts to this war, and the opposition remains powerful."
Syrian state TV aired footage from Abbasiyn Square, typically buzzing with activity but now empty except for the sound of shelling. Residents said artillery shells and rockets were landing in the heart of the city.
The Observatory said rebel shells hit several nearby districts in Damascus, including Bab Touma, Rukn al-Din and the Abbasiyin area. Several schools announced they would close through Monday, and many civilians cowered inside in fear of stray bullets and shelling. According to the Observatory, the Faylaq al-Rahman group and the Fateh al-Sham Front - known as al-Nusra Front before it broke ties with al-Qaeda - were present in Jobar. "This neighbourhood is the most important front line because it's the closest rebel position to the heart of the capital," said Abdel Rahman. Government forces have long sought to push the rebels out of the district because of its proximity to the city centre in Damascus.
But with Sunday's attack, Abdel Rahman said, "rebels have shifted from a defensive position in Jobar to an offensive one".  
"These are not intermittent clashes - these are ongoing attempts to advance," he said.
Syria's war : Forced evacuations begin in Al Waer One rebel commander told the Associated Press news agency they launched the assualt from Jobar as a way to relieve allied fighters in the nearby districts of Barzeh, Tishreen, and Qabun from government attacks. "This is to relieve the pressure on rebels with the regime not stopping its bombardment and artillery shelling," said Abu Abdo, a commander from Failaq al Rahman.
The attack on Damascus comes just days before a fresh round of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva aiming to put an end to Syria's six-year war. Rebels and government troops agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities in December, but fighting has continued across much of the country, including in the capital.
Rebels said the army had advanced in the last two days after weeks of bombardment and aerial strikes aimed at regaining control of strategic areas inside the capital, a few kms away from President Bashar al Assad's seat of power. The army had advanced towards a road between Qaboun and Barza, whose capture severed the links between the two besieged rebel districts where tens of thousands of people live.
"Taking this road would isolate Barza and Qaboun completely and with a security belt around it," said Abu Abdullah, another fighter with Failaq al Rahman rebel group.
The army and allied militias have been targeting the besieged Eastern Ghouta area, the biggest remaining rebel bastion around the capital, for months, making incremental gains.
It has undertaken a relentless bombing campaign of residential areas to force rebels to surrender and agree to deals that push them out of these areas.   

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Mayors must do more to contain chikungunya in city


THE outbreak of mosquito borne diseases like a new type of fever called chikungunya, in addition to dengue fever in the city and elsewhere is causing additional concern to city dwellers and public health authorities how to protect people from this danger. People in most families in the city are ...

Back Page »

Zum'atul Wida


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :The last Friday of the Holy Ramzan is called 'Zum'atul Wida'. It means 'departing Zum'a'. The musallies with due religious fervour join the Zum'a congregation and bid farewell to this month of patience and self-restraint. Al-Quran imposes obligation of the Friday prayer in the followingverses : "O ...

Cricket »

Malinga in hot water over 'monkey' comment


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga faced an investigation Thursday after he compared a government minister to a monkey following criticism that the country's cricketers were too fat.Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said he ordered an inquiry after Malinga lambasted him for questioning the endurance of Sri Lankan players ...

Entertainment »

Harry and Sejal grooving on Radha


Jab Harry met Sejal’s first song Radha is out and it’s as refreshing as it can get. The song features Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma dancing to the tunes of Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan on the streets. The peppy number with its foot tapping music and catchy lyrics ...

Entertainment »

Samia Rahman’s Eid reality show Rupantor


Entertainment Report :A reality show will be telecasted in five days of Eid holidays and its result will be announced during this time. This short-term reality show Rupantor is planned by Samia Rahman. She will moderate the show. She will select 30 university females among hundred students. Produced by Samia ...

International »

Macron adds new faces to Cabinet after losing 4 ministers


AP, Paris :French President Emmanuel Macron brought several little-known figures into his government Wednesday as part of a reshuffle after corruption scandals started tarnishing his young Cabinet.Macron had planned to rearrange the government after his centrist party won a majority in parliamentary elections Sunday. He was forced to make more ...

Editorial »

Postponement of new VAT, but much more is needed


THE New VAT Act scheduled to become effective from July 1 is facing new crisis as the Finance Minister has been asked by the highest authority of the government to postpone it for the time being and find out why controversies with business communities and other stakeholders still remained unresolved. ...

Cricket »

Darren Sammy remains in Rajshahi Kings


Sports Reporter :The fifth edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Cricket will be held in this year. Defending runners-up Rajshahi Kings has started to form their team. West Indian star Darren Sammy led Rajshahi Kings in last year's BPL. Rajshahi Kings have retained Darren Sammy for this year's BPL. The ...

City »

Bangladesh Institute of Planners organised a discussion meeting on landslide at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.


Entertainment »

Afzal Sharif’s Eid TVC


Entertainment Report :Actors of the small screen always believe that they must have worked either play or telefilm in Eid. On the other hand, actors of big screen want their acted movie must be released in Eid. As a result, they pass the Eid festival joyfully. But actor Afzal Sharif ...

International »

State Department chastises Saudi Arabia, UAE over Qatar


 The Washington Post :The State Department issued an unusual public warning to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday over a diplomatic rift with fellow U.S. ally Qatar, and suggested that the Saudis may have provoked a crisis and drawn in the United States on false pretenses.Department spokeswoman ...

Editorial »

Encouraging violence is easy but containing not


AT the beginning we have to admit that we are glad the government leaders condemned the brutal attack on Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the Secretary General of the majors opposition party BNP. In a highly rowdy situation Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's convoy came under attack allegedly by followers of ruling party ...

Football »

U-16 girls win Begum Sufia Kamal award


The Under -16 Girls who have kept the Bangladesh football's flag flying with their international success were finally rewarded when Bangladesh Mahila Parishad honored the Bangladesh women's U16 team with this year's Begum Sufia Kamal Award for their performance on the field.BFF's head of women's football, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron received ...

City »

Aparajeya Bangladesh formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday in protest against attack on BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in Rangunia.


Entertainment »

Tariq Anam, Suborna, Babu, Naziba`s Eid play


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :On the occasion of coming Eid, noted playwright and director Badrul Anam Soud has made a special play titled Durer Manush. Soud himself has written its story. Soud informed that story of the play revolves with a girl named Orpa.Naziba Bashar played the role of Orpa. Therefore, ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news