Islamist Rebels Seize Key North Syria Army Base

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Rebels led by the radical Islamist group Al-Nusra Front seized a strategic army base in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Monday after weeks of fierce fighting, a watchdog said.

It was the last major military base west of Aleppo remaining under army control.

"Al-Nusra Front, alongside several Islamist rebel battalions linked to it, have seized control of the army base headquarters at Sheikh Suleiman," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.

Base 111, with its headquarters in the village of Sheikh Suleiman, sprawls over nearly 200 hectares (500 acres) of rocky hills about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Aleppo city.

"It is a significant win for the rebels. It proves the army is still suffering major military losses," said Abdel Rahman, adding that the rebels seized up to 10 military vehicles and at least one tank.

Several other rebel groups claimed responsibility for the capture.

"We the battalion of Ahrar Daret Ezza (Free Men of Daret Ezza) of the Free Syrian Army, with the help of other rebel brigades, have freed Base 111," said a rebel spokesman, in to a video statement posted online.

But Abdel Rahman insisted Al-Nusra and its allies were behind the capture.

"The mainstream Free Syrian Army may want to claim this victory -- but it is not theirs. It is Al-Nusra Front's and groups linked to it," he said.

According to an AFP journalist who covered the clashes around Sheikh Suleiman, many of the fighters were foreigners from other Arab countries and Central Asia who have joined the insurgency against President Bashar Assad's forces.

Abu Talha, a rebel chief in the area, is from Uzbekistan.

Another video posted online showed Muhajireen battalion fighters linked to Al-Nusra standing before black flags and reciting the Muslim profession faith inside the abandoned base.

Comments 10
Thumb jcamerican 10 December 2012, 12:05

Cannot wait to hear that they are starting to fight each other for the loots.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 10 December 2012, 14:04

somalia ,afgahanistan style will be the next neighbour of israel,lebanon,jordan enjoy the new middle east.....more popcorn plse.

Thumb JabalElFersan 10 December 2012, 14:30

And the infighting begins. Once FSA main objective is achieved being Assad there will be divisions within their ranks and a major strugle for power. To date there has been no succession plan that represents the minorities of Syria, look at what happened and continues to happen to the Akbot in Egypt.

Missing anonymetexasusa 10 December 2012, 16:43

Beg to differ
Al Nusra id being funded and trained by Qatar, Saudi & Turkey, they are more in tune with their radical views, just like Taliban was.
The more secular FSA is Europe & USA favorite, but Europe and USA delay in training & equipping them meant that Al Nusra is getting the upper hand

Missing shikonireh 10 December 2012, 15:25

Dont matter, the faster you accept the downfall of Assad the sooner you accept reality. Doest matter who will make him fall it will happen whether you like it or not

Missing gabby10 10 December 2012, 16:48

Flame_Retardant.....you always seem to forget that we don't want to live under the domination of Persia anymore. Persia, ASSad, and Hezz are choking us and we are sick of it. I don't care who trained who. ASSad has murdered too many M14 and has has thousands of Lebanese in prison for decades.

The Hezz will pay dearly for their alliance in the war. Their side just lost a major base and are losing the war.

Missing anonymetexasusa 10 December 2012, 16:58

Gabby10
It is naive of you to say that you don't care who trained who.
Because Assad replacement could be even worse to Lebanon.
Let's be realistic and Frank. Saudi Arabia & Qatar do not wish for democratic nations to pop up around them, it is a strategic threat to the royal families' rule.
They would rather have a Taliban style government replace Assad so the Saudi family rule in Saudi Arabia will be regarded as open, moderate, acceptable in comparison.

Missing anonymetexasusa 10 December 2012, 17:33

What is scary is that Europe & USA are complacent.
They are letting Saudi Arabia & Qatar have their way, because they don't want to anger them, and they fear that if Arab demand for democratic rule is not stopped it could reach the gulf states and destabilize them, which would be a nightmare for Europe & USA.
So they are letting Qatar & Saudi Arabia influence the outcome of the revolution in Tunisia & Egypt, and influence the war in Syrian and steer them away from democratie toward Islamic States, which would be a lesser threat to Royal families' rule.

Missing peace 10 December 2012, 22:45

enjoying the posts as if we were at the counter of a bar listening to experts who know everything and are so sure of themselves...
don t let assad go! syria will become afghanistan! syria will be ruled by evil islamists! let the dictator kill people as he wishes as it ll be worse after!
lol! where did you buy your crystal ball to be so sure of the future? lol!

Missing anonymetexasusa 11 December 2012, 01:09

Peace if u can't keep up with analysis then maybe you shouldn't be commenting.
But I will humor you.
Let's start with facts.
Who is financing, arming and training the rebels, that would be Qatar & Saudi Arabia primarily, and then comes Turkey, Europe & USA.
Are Qatar & Saudi Arabia Democracies? Definitely No.
Are Qatar & Saudi Arabia secular countries? Definitely No.
Are Qatar & Saudi Arabia open & tolerant society? Definitely No.
Would the ruling families be inclined to hand over their powers and turn their countries to democracy, should their people chooses democracy? Definitely No.
In light of all the above, do you still believe that Qatar & Saudi Arabia are sponsoring the rebels to create a free secular & democratic Syria???