Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, July 27, 2017 08:33:42 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 ( 279 )   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 »

It is painful to see how people of Dhaka and Chittagong suffering


INTERMITTENT heavy rainfall in the two big cities of the country has brought them closer to the breaking point. On one hand the rains worsened by gusty wind is creating unimaginable water logging and traffic jams, while on the other unplanned and undisciplined ongoing city development programmes have created innumerable ...

Cricket »

Dhawan, Pujara score centuries as India end Day 1 at 399/3


Agency :India made a dream start to the first Test by scoring 399 for 3 on the first day of the match with Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring contrasting centuries and sharing a 253-run stand for the second wicket. Dhawan was dismissed for 190.Sri Lanka had their tail up ...

Entertainment »

Runa, Bhabna wish success for each other


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Runa Khan and Ashna Habib Bhabna are those two actresses of present time in small screen who have already won the hearts of many viewers by virtue of their acting skills and qualities. Both TV plays/ serials and TV commercials presence of Runa Khan is significant. On ...

City »

Major areas of the city went under water due to torrential rain causing sufferings to the dwellers yesterday. This picture was taken from city`s Dayaganj area yesterday.


.

International »

Rouhani says Iran will `respond` if US missile law passes


AP, Tehran : Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country will respond if a bill in the U.S. Congress imposing sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program becomes law.The House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday and it now goes to the Senate.Without giving details, Rouhani said ...

Editorial »

HSC results: Fall in pass rates fall in standard too


THE results of this year's HSC examinations saw a significant fall in both the success rate and the number of highest achievers due to the introduction of a new evaluation method, students' poor performance in English and shocking performance of students of Comilla Board. The overall pass rate of Higher ...

Cricket »

Mahmudullah Riyad passes ten years in international cricket


Sports Reporter :Mahmudullah Riyad have passed ten years in international cricket. Riyad made his debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka on 25th July in 2007 at Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. He made his debut memorable scoring 36 runs and bagging two wickets for 28 runs. Riyad ...

Sports »

Britain`s Adam Peaty swims when setting a new world record in a men`s 50-meter breaststroke heat during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday.


Entertainment »

Tareen`s two Eid telefilms


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :While staying inside or outside the country her parents always remains worried at their residence in the city’s Dhanmondi area. For this reason, after finishing her works Tareen prefers to comeback to parents. Because she feels she is still child to them. Despite having engagement with activities ...

Entertainment »

Shah Rukh collaborates with Grammy winner Diplo for Jab Harry met Sejal


Shah Rukh Khan collaborates with yet another International music sensation after Akon. Shah Rukh and Grammy Winer Diplo come together for a song titled Phurrr from Jab Harry met Sejal. The Superstar has earlier got Akon on board for his film Ra.One, wherein Akon lent his voice for Chammak Challo ...

International »

Saudi, allies unveil Qatar `terrorist` blacklist


AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia and its allies unveiled a "terrorist" blacklist on Tuesday of 18 organisations and individuals suspected of links with Islamist extremism that they said had ties with regional rival Qatar.The move by the four Arab governments came despite mounting international pressure to compromise in their weeks-old boycott ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing the DC Conference at her office on Tuesday.


Editorial »

They are only self-seekers and have no love for Bangabandhu


WHEN there are so many critically important national issues to be addressed - some of our politicians needlessly makes a mountain out of a mole hill by creating pointless controversy. This time the hullabaloo surrounds the portrait drawing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib by a ten-year old boy. Understandably, there was ...

Football »

Neymar staying at Barcelona, says teammate Pique


Brazilian superstar striker Neymar will stay with Barcelona, according to teammate Gerard Pique, who posted a Twitter message on the striker's status Sunday.Spanish international defender Pique indicated the South American maestro would continue at Camp Nou by tweeting a photo of Neymar with the caption "He's staying."The message came hours ...

International »

China says it wants to `maintain stability` in disputed South China Sea


Reuters, Bangkok :Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday Beijing wanted to maintain stability in the South China Sea as it seeks alliances in the region amid tensions in the disputed waters.The United States has criticized China for disregarding international law by the construction and militarization of artificial islands ...

 
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