Rebels Overrun Military Airport in North Syria

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Rebels on Tuesday overran a military air base, a watchdog said, a day after seizing control of Syria's largest dam as they pushed an assault on strategic targets in the north of the country.

The military advance came as prospects for a political solution to Syria's civil war faded and as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Bashar Assad's regime to accept an offer of dialogue by an opposition leader.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels captured a military airport in al-Hajjar in Aleppo province, and in the process seized for the first time a fleet of deployable warplanes including MiG fighter jets.

During their assault on the airport, the rebels killed, injured or imprisoned some 40 troops, the Britain-based watchdog said.

"The remainder of the troops pulled out from the airport, leaving behind several warplanes and large amounts of ammunition," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.

Rebels also launched offensives on other airports in the region, activists said.

"At dawn Tuesday, several rebel battalions launched simultaneous assaults on Aleppo international airport and Nayrab military airport," the grassroots anti-regime Aleppo Media Center said via Facebook.

The international airport at Syria's second city has been closed since January 1.

Activists in Aleppo have told AFP that fighters in the north have shifted their focus to the capture of military airports and bases.

"They are important because they are an instant source of ammunition and supplies, and because their capture means putting out of action the warplanes used to bombard us," Aleppo-based activist Abu Hisham said via the Internet.

But while the rebels have notched up victories in northern and eastern Syria they have yet to take a major city in the war-ravaged country, which is largely at a military stalemate almost two years into the revolution.

The capture of al-Jarrah airport came just over a month after rebels overran Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria.

Amateur video shot by rebels overrunning al-Jarrah and distributed via the Internet showed a fleet of warplanes lining the airport's runways.

"Thank God, Ahrar al-Sham (Islamist rebels) have overrun the military airport" at al-Jarrah, said an unidentified cameraman who shot a video at the site.

"MiG warplanes are now in the hands of Ahrar al-Sham. And here is the ammunition," the cameraman added, filming two Russian-made fighter jets similar to those used by the army since last summer to bombard rebel targets.

According to U.N. figures, more than 60,000 people have been killed in violence across Syria since the eruption of an anti-Assad revolt in March 2011.

As well as lives lost, the raging conflict has caused massive infrastructural and economic damage.

Supporters of Assad's regime meanwhile planned a demonstration for next Tuesday in Damascus, under the slogan "resistance against terrorism", using the authorities' term for rebels.

The Observatory said at least 137 people were killed in violence across the country on Monday. Among them were 49 civilians.

Comments 26
Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 11:35

keep laughing...the days of iranian influence in our region is around the corner. I'm sure that you're laughing bout the fact that the FSA is surrounding the eastern and western ghouta and cut off all supply routes to homs and the north....i'm sure you also laughed at the death of maher al assad's right hand man who was the head of the 4th brigade yesterday......lak ehhhhh keep laughing.

Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 11:59

I highly suggest that you keep track of these pages karim...if you want to know what's happening....Al Manar which we used to respect and trust in the past has failed its viewers by showing them only one side of the story which is bashar's. His days are near my friend. https://www.facebook.com/NntsrAwNstshhdhyytAghathhSwrya

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 12 February 2013, 12:17

there are 26 military airports in syria

Thumb mouallek 12 February 2013, 12:58

They also observe your right to stupidity

Thumb geha 12 February 2013, 13:11

soon iran will be out.

Thumb mouallek 12 February 2013, 13:19

They also observe your right to stupidity

Thumb mouallek 12 February 2013, 13:19

They also observe your right to stupidity

Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 14:16

A facebook page with activists on the ground who support their claims via videos are more reliable than the underground rat who gets his orders from a non arab sitting in the caves of tehran. Anyways, at this point, there is no need to convince anyone about anything....our victory is near and you will have to deal with this new reality whether you like or not....keep stockpiling your katyushas...they won't do you any good.

Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 15:27

What you need to realize is that the dynamics of this region are changing and that puppets like Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations will become extinct because they won't have an ally in Damascus or anywhere else in the region. In other words the life line that extends from Tehran to the South of Lebanon will be cut off once and for all and the hezb will realize that the only way to coexist within the Lebanese state is through normal democratic means and without resorting to the threat of arms.

Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 15:27

What do you mean by the "assad" heartland? Are you referring to the Kurdaha? Tartus? Not sure you even know what that means, you probably picked up the term on CNN or something. Every single city in Syria is surrounded by the FSA today but yes I do admit that we are losing a lot of brave soliders due to airstrikes which pose the biggest threat. As you have noticed, we are slowly but surely taking over all airforce bases around Syria and once we neutralize them...cont. Assad will have to rely on his cowardly 4th brigade and other alawite dominated brigades to regain control of lost territory which will never happen. We will not repeat the mistake of Hafez the butcher and invade Lebanon or any other country for that matter no matter what the reason..the Lebanese themselves will decide who gets to hold arms and who gets to be above the law.....but what I can tell you for sure is that the Hezb will not find an ally in Damascus.

Missing shamiguy 12 February 2013, 15:46

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLDc2Z6vq4M&feature=youtu.be

this happened just now a few hour ago in an area called Jobar which is literally 15 minutes away from central damascus. Under arrest are members of the 'feared' 4th brigade which is maher al assad's battalion which is 90% alawite.

Do you realize that this is happening on a daily basis? What do you guys think?

Missing bigjohn 12 February 2013, 18:22

"underground rat who gets his orders from a non Arab sitting in the caves of tehran" ..."Shamiguy" I never heard the words of "underground rat" from any Syrian...only m14 Lebanese on Naharnet. If the Islamists are able to take over ALL of Syria (and that is a big if) their first priority is to improve their economy followed by liberating the Golan Heights. I can not imagine a Syrian leader in power (for long) allied with Zionist America.

Thumb bigsami 12 February 2013, 19:58

Nice link shamiguy. You can see the BIG difference between how Bashar torments/tortures their prisoners and how the rebels treat theirs. At one point you can hear one of the rebels tell one of the captives (soldiers) to watch out/be careful as he knelt on the floor next to a fellow injured soldier as to not hurt him.

Missing canadianadam 12 February 2013, 15:47

Shamiguy, ignore the two HA rejects laughing. Let then laugh. There will be a time when they re confined to Dahye and have all their power taken.

Go FSA!

Default-user-icon trueself (Guest) 12 February 2013, 15:49

When is the bloodshed going to stop in Syria? My heart and soul goes to the families of the people who died, incarcerated and tortured. Isn’t there a rational way of ending this stupid war that only destroys? Are we humans or animals? The way I see things on the ground reminds me of savagery and evilness. I wish the latest overture of Al Khatib succeeds in stopping the madness in Syria. Israel is laughing its heart out seeing the Syrians and before the Lebanese killing themselves for no reason. Should we the Arab give such satisfaction to our enemy? The Gulf states have thus far playing a cooling role which is not ending the war but at least adding some sense of reason to the formula of killing endlessly. Even when the rebels win, what are they getting? A Syria that is totally decimated and ruined. All the parties should recognize the dangers of this war and try and put what’s best for their people before their own.

Default-user-icon trueself (Guest) 12 February 2013, 15:50

When is the bloodshed going to stop in Syria? My heart and soul goes to the families of the people who died, incarcerated and tortured. Isn’t there a rational way of ending this stupid war that only destroys? Are we humans or animals? The way I see things on the ground reminds me of savagery and evilness. I wish the latest overture of Al Khatib succeeds in stopping the madness in Syria. Israel is laughing its heart out seeing the Syrians and before the Lebanese killing themselves for no reason. Should we the Arab give such satisfaction to our enemy? The Gulf states have thus far playing a cooling role which is not ending the war but at least adding some sense of reason to the formula of killing endlessly. Even when the rebels win, what are they getting? A Syria that is totally decimated and ruined. All the parties should recognize the dangers of this war and try and put what’s best for their people before their own.

Missing allouchi 12 February 2013, 17:38

Go FSA go...The butcher botcher days are numbered...it doesn't matter how long it takes the dog will be kicked out of Syria or killed...

Missing bigjohn 12 February 2013, 18:35

The Revolutionary movement in the Arab world is Anti-American and Anti-Zionist. Whether it is the Secular Arab Nationalist Left in Egypt or Tunisia or the Sunni Islamist movements (where some are anti Shia)...they ARE NOT demanding to be puppets of the west like the Gulf Kings, and M14. The Gulf Kings and the West will try their best to use their money to avoid the unavoidable....but, it will not last long. Any puppet of the West will be overthrown whether he call himself an Islamist or Arab Nationalist.

Missing bigjohn 12 February 2013, 18:48

I find it strange that the Syrian army in the last several months have been losing areas mostly to the Al-Qaida linked groups rather than to FSA. You can argue that the Jihadists are better fighters. I think the Syrian regime want the Al qaida groups to control more land...as a warning to the west and their puppets, and to create war between the FSA and Al Qaida (which has already happened) so the Syrian Army can go in after they destroy each other. Of course, the US opposes any group they are not able to control which is why they put AL NUSRA Front on the terrorist list.

Missing realist 12 February 2013, 19:52

Keep listening to your nasrala 'soria kharajat min daerat khatar' on manar 2011 and now he is talking about syria partition in 2013, 'ma fi chi in hums' lol, the same person who predicted syrian army would not leave lebanon in 2003, and the 'law kuntu a3lam' and the same person who would eventualy yjeeb akhretkun. There is a verse in your holly quran that addresses your disbelief in events, that is of course if there is room in your heart left for any belief besides the utter hate, contempt and zionist disregard to sunis, the youtubes are online by the way for you to enjoy and you can die in hour hate like god says in the quran

Missing realist 12 February 2013, 19:53

Ma fi chi bi soriya, they staged all this in a studio in daw7a

Missing greatpierro 12 February 2013, 20:07

Did you not know how much money the tyrannic regime of el Assad has been spending for years on weapons. 70% of GDP of Syria. Do you know why all this money has been spent. Of course not to fight Israel, but to enable this tyrannic regimes to assert its power on its own people and poor us Lebanese.

just a question: why do you like such a tyrannic regime that looted, killed and destroyed our country?

Thumb kanaandian 12 February 2013, 22:27

I would celebrate with you my Naharnet friends, but I have already (unfortunately) seen the face of the rebels, and I must say, they look like Taliban members. No Takbeers from this man of unshaven, unshaven, mujahiden today.

Missing peace 12 February 2013, 22:56

yes sure assad is better...

Thumb lebnanfirst 12 February 2013, 22:54

And Iran wants trade price is keeping the mullahs in power. Different face of the same coin. Ok to criticize but be fair and shed your compulsive hatred of Sunnis (or Shiites, or Christians as the case of ones bias may be) is ever you are to live happily in Lebanon.

Missing samiam 12 February 2013, 23:08

as reliable for news as Al-Akhbar

actually, probably a bit more...