Army Launches Major Offensive along Damascus Airport Road as Aleppo Raid Kills 15

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Most communications were down in Syria on Thursday evening as regime troops launched a major offensive in southeastern Damascus along the airport road, monitors said.

The army attacked rebel strongholds in a string of towns along the highway and near the airport, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse by phone. State media also reported operations in the area.

The fighting, which came after Internet links went down across most of Syria, caused EgyptAir and Emirates to announce the cancellation of flights to Damascus.

The heaviest clashes erupted between troops and rebels in the towns of Babila and Hujaira southeast of the capital and in Harran al-Awamid, just east of the airport, the Observatory said, adding that army reinforcements had been sent to the area.

Official media also reported operations in the province and said several members of an "armed terrorist group, Al-Nusra Front" had been killed in the town of Aqraba.

The army also went on the offensive across the eastern outer belt of the capital, notably in the towns of Harasta and Douma and in Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said.

Technology companies which monitor web traffic reported Thursday that Syria was effectively cut off from the Internet.

Akamai, one of the firms which monitors global traffic, said traffic stopped from 1026 GMT, and that this supports the observation from another IT firm, Renesys, "that Syria is effectively off the Internet."

According to activists, sudden communication cuts regularly occur before major military offensives.

An EgyptAir official in Cairo said the airline had canceled its Friday flight to Damascus because of deteriorated security at the airport and a breakdown in communication with its office there.

In Dubai, Emirates said it suspended flights to Damascus after the airport road was blocked by the clashes.

"Emirates has suspended all flights to and from Damascus effective immediately and until further notice," a spokesperson for the company said.

Regime forces have regularly carried out air strikes on this area, in an attempt to dislodge rebels from their rear bases in the orchards on the outskirts of the capital.

The goal of the army is to take full control of the capital and a radius of eight kilometers (five miles) around it, a Syrian security official told AFP.

The authorities in the morning closed the airport road, located 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the center of Damascus, and which passes through the embattled Eastern Ghouta region.

A regime air strike on the northern city of Aleppo, meanwhile, killed at least 15 civilians, said the Observatory.

US technology companies Akamai and Renesys which monitor web traffic said the war-torn country was cut off from the Internet from 1026 GMT.

"In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," said Renesys.

In Damascus, users said both Internet and mobile telephone communications were cut and land lines barely functioning, while the country's Internet provider cited technical problems.

The state news agency SANA also had its feed interrupted at midday.

According to activists, sudden communication cuts are often a signal of imminent military offensives.

The Observatory said five children and two women were among at least 15 people killed when a government warplane dropped two bombs on the rebel-held Ansari district of Aleppo.

The strike hit two buildings in Aleppo, Syria's war-torn commercial capital in the north, while videos posted online by activists showed the facades of several apartments blown away.

The videos showed residents trying to rescue a wounded child and describing how barrel bombs were used in the raid.

Also in the north, several rebel brigades attacked the fortress-like Wadi Daif army base in Idlib province and fighting raged outside the nearby insurgent-held town of Maaret al-Numan, the Britain-based Observatory said.

Rebels who control vast swathes of territory in northern Syria have made significant gains in past days, including for the first time shooting down regime's attack aircraft with surface-to-air missiles.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Syrian rebels have obtained up to 40 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, citing Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials.

Some of the missiles were supplied in the past weeks by Qatar, it said.

Analysts say the use by the rebels of the advanced weaponry marked a potential turning point in their prolonged war with President Bashar Assad's forces, in which according to the Observatory more than 40,000 people have died since March 2011.

Since the end of July, the Syrian regime has used its aerial superiority to try to suppress the growing insurgency.

On the diplomatic front, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was due at 1400 GMT to brief the U.N. Security Council which remains divided between Western nations and Assad allies Russia and China over the Syrian crisis.

Moscow and Beijing have blocked three Security Council resolutions condemning the Syrian government.

Appointed after Kofi Annan threw in the towel, Brahimi has twice met with Assad and has held talks with a number of regional leaders in a bid to resolve the 20-month crisis.

Spain meanwhile announced its recognition of the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of Syria's people, boosting the opposition in its campaign to oust Assad.

France was the first Western state to recognize the coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people and it was swiftly joined by Britain. Paris has also suggested arming opposition fighters.

But even as international support grew for the opposition, Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused rebels in the field of using young boys to serve as fighters, guards and lookouts in the brutal conflict.

"Children as young as 14 have served in at least three opposition brigades, transporting weapons and supplies and acting as lookouts," the New York-based watchdog said.

"Children as young as 16 have carried arms and taken combat roles against government forces."

Comments 22
Missing mohammad_ca 29 November 2012, 16:17

Allah m7aye eljaysh el7orr

Thumb geha 29 November 2012, 16:18

hizbushaitan will soon start counting their deaths.
I pity the parents of these misguided young men sent to their death by hizbushaitan.

Thumb geha 29 November 2012, 16:40

latest news: the airport road in Damascus has benn cut due to extremely heavy fighting.
the days of assad are nearing their end and with him the days f his cronies in Lebanon.

Missing realist 30 November 2012, 01:37

it will take many more months to win damascus and even then the war would not be over and it would move back to 7ums and even to latakia. The regime will be just a smaller gang and politicaly dead. I agree that assad is doomed, i disagree it is that 'near'.

Thumb geha 30 November 2012, 10:59

kindly re-check my comment: nearing :)
but it will be sooner than you expect

Missing abraham 30 November 2012, 06:59

you forgot to mention all those paid mercenaries who are fighting for the sake of Qatari and S. Arabian monarchs.

Thumb lebanon_first 29 November 2012, 16:25

can naharnet provide us a map with colors showing who is controlling what?

Thumb lebanon_first 29 November 2012, 23:58

who could downthumb my wisdom above???

Default-user-icon Zincoshine (Guest) 30 November 2012, 15:01

in lebanon, anything is possible.

Missing gabby9 29 November 2012, 16:25

Very true geha. This will be counted as a war loss for Hizbcocaine. Their axis is falling apart. First Hamas left, now bashar is almost done.....who will be next? Iran or the Hezz?

Default-user-icon Vendo Zoklam (Guest) 29 November 2012, 23:14

The axis is actually falling apart, and according to your long history of predictions, Dr. Samir Gabby, it has fallen about 6,294 times and might fall again in about a month and two days, as the other doctor, Dr. Arreet 7akeh has been telling us, pending an update for 2013 and forth. Eazy on the cocaine, gabbaguybo, and keep the hallucinations since 2005 coming. Life is really, really, really boring without your well... duh... ummm... missing predictions? By the way, my friend, aren't you due for an increment? Will you start using Roman numerals? They're just more brief considering the potential number of digits before the fall of the ASSad regime.

Missing peace 29 November 2012, 18:48

15 civilians killed in their homes among which 5 children. where are mowaten and FT to denounce that act of barbarism? only chatrtin when it comes to the killings of pro bashar people?

Missing peace 29 November 2012, 20:33

by the way i cannot stick anything where the sun doesn t shine as you put it , M8 is already there....

Missing peace 29 November 2012, 21:01

poor FT... getting worse by the day. symptomatic of sick mind.

truths hurts you really worse than i thought to lower yourself that much! seems you getting in love with aoun and identify yourself to him!
your posts just say everything, nothing to add to your stupidity...

btw as your mind needs repetition as one neurone cannot handle everything: insult hariri as much as you want, tell me he s my idol as much as you want if it releases your sick mind because i don t give a SH... about him unlike you and your pimp the claoun....

Thumb bigsami 29 November 2012, 21:39

Schizo Farsi BSThrower....give it up. Every time you respond you further prove to all your stupidity! Go back to Iran where you belong and enjoy being suppressed like you heard of sheep.

Thumb bigsami 29 November 2012, 21:40


Thumb bigsami 29 November 2012, 19:23

"where are mowaten and FT to denounce that act of barbarism?" Probably celebrating while waving that evil yellow flag!

Missing gabby9 29 November 2012, 23:19

Looking bad for ASSad. He cut the internet to avoid images of the airport possibly falling. If the airport falls he will be partially cut from re-supply by air. Tha palace is not too far away.

Missing chouf3 29 November 2012, 23:42

What a shame Syrians killing each other and leaving Israel alone .

Missing peace 30 November 2012, 10:49

easier to bomb civilians than an enemy army, it s resistance the syrian way!

Default-user-icon zouhair (Guest) 30 November 2012, 03:57

This is NOT gaza my friends this is syria.and for them everything is allowed wata hyppocrite ugly disgusting world !!!! the world knows to barke only when Israel open an operation and kill one palestinian kid but about what these criminals are doing, the world is keepping quiet right ? by the way i am not jewish and not christian i am human naharnet please dont censure my text.

Default-user-icon Zincoshine (Guest) 30 November 2012, 15:19

Who remembers jabalamal?