Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 01:29:52 PM
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       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

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.   

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

EC must upgrade database urgently


THE database of Election Commission (EC) containing elaborate information of about 10.5 crore voters may crash at any time  as they have not upgraded the hardware and software, including the automated fingerprint identification system, in due time. Besides, storage capacity of Oracle Exadata system has also expired which has increased ...

International »

Abbas seeks EU recognition to State of Palestine


AFP, Brussels :Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Monday urged the EU to "swiftly" grant official recognition to the state of Palestine as he sought support in Brussels amid a bitter row with Washington over the US plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem.Abbas told EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini that ...

Business & Economy »

L'Oreal hijab model pulls out of campaign after backlash over tweets


Evening Standard :A beauty blogger who was the first ever hijab-wearing model to front a mainstream haircare ad has pulled out of a campaign with L'Oreal after a backlash over tweets she wrote in 2014. Amena Khan wrote on Instagram that she had decided to step down from the campaign ...

Cricket »

Tamim joins 6000 runs ODI club


Southpaw opener Tamim Iqbal reached another milestone as he joined 6000 runs ODI Club during the 5th ODI of the triangular series against Zimbabwe at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium art Mirpur on Tuesday.The dashing opener Tamim, who hit his third consecutive fifties in this series so far, needed 66 runs ...

Sports »

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki hits a forehand return to Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro during their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday.


Entertainment »

Fahmee to debut in big screen


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Though she has been acting in small screen for many days but Fahmida Sharmeen Fahmee had a dream to work in the big screen. At last, her dream comes into true. Finally she has been selected to cast in role of Farzana in Mizanur Rahman Labu’s movie ...

Entertainment »

SRK gets special honour at WEF


Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was at his wittiest best in Davos on Monday when he asked actress Cate Blanchett for a selfie publicly and immediately quipped that it may leave his children embarrassed, sending the audience into peals of laughter. Khan received the 24th Crystal Award on Monday at ...

City »

BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia appeared before the special court on Alia Madrasha premises in the city's Bakshibazar on Tuesday on two cases filed by Anti-Corruption Commission.


Editorial »

Banking sector is doomed, merger or no merger


FINANCE Minister AMA Muhith has recommended Bangladesh Bank to start merger of problem banks, but experts fear that such a move would not stop the rot the country's banking sector is facing. On December 28, Muhith wrote a letter to BB Governor Fazle Kabir pointing out that it was the ...

Sports »

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after defeating Japan's Naomi Osaka during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday.


International »

Turkey in new assault on Kurdish militia on Syria


AFP  :Turkey on Monday shelled Kurdish militia targets in Syria and claimed progress in a cross-border offensive that has stoked concern among its allies and neighbours.The Turkish military on Saturday launched operation "Olive Branch", its second major incursion into Syrian territory during the seven-year civil war.The operation, where Turkish war ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, among others, at a protest rally organised by Akhtar Hossain Mukti Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday demanding release of all BNP leaders including Organizing Secretary of Dhaka Mahanagar Uttar Akhtar Hossain.


Entertainment »

Yami Gautam applauds India’s win at Blind Cricket World Cup 2018


Bollywood actress Yami Gautam took to Twitter to applaud the victory of India at the Blind Cricket World Cup 2018. India retained Blind Cricket World Cup title after beating Pakistan by two wickets in a thrilling final played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in UAE on Saturday. India had previously ...

Entertainment »

Razzak’s birthday today


Entertainment Report :If he would alive today he will turn into 77. He died on August 21 of 2017. His sudden demise made a gap in the field industry. He was basically a guardian in film arena. Today is birthday of legendary film actor Razzak. Younger son of Razzak, Khalid ...

Editorial »

Migrant workers` early death should worry our govt


A NATIONAL daily reported that at least 3,480 Bangladeshi workers died abroad in 2017, mostly due to stroke or heart attack. Unbearable physical and mental stress, workload, malnutrition, ill health care, thin sleep and rest time, and unhygienic living decrease the life expectancy of the Bangladeshi expatriates workers working in ...

 
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