Syria Rebels Say 5 Choppers Wrecked in Raid on Airport

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Syrian rebels claimed on Wednesday they had destroyed five helicopters at a military airport between the northern cities of Aleppo and Idlib, after a watchdog reported fierce clashes there.

Abu Mossab, a rebel who participated in the attack, told Agence Francce Presse via Skype that the rebels had shelled the Taftanaz military airport with two captured military tanks and had destroyed five military helicopters. The claims could not immediately be independently verified.

Fierce fighting broke out at the airport between government troops and rebels near the airport earlier in the day, prompting helicopter gunships to launch attacks on the nearby town of Taftanaz, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Observatory reported that 14 government troops were killed in the fighting at Taftanaz, while two rebels and one civilian died elsewhere in Idlib province.

Explosions could be heard from the airport, a base for fighter planes and helicopters running sorties over the rebel strongholds of Aleppo and Idlib, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The airport has been the target of several attacks in past weeks by insurgents entrenched in Aleppo and Idlib, which have suffered daily shelling by government troops.

In Aleppo city, where the army and rebels have battled for over a month for control, fierce clashes broke out between the two sides in several districts, according to the watchdog.

And in Damascus, activists reported a third straight day of army attacks on rebel strongholds in the eastern outer belt of the city, collectively referred to as East Ghuta.

The Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists on the ground, said warplanes and helicopters bombed and strafed all the East Ghuta suburbs, while the Observatory reported attacks by combat helicopters on the eastern suburb of Saqba as well as shelling further into the city in the district of Zamalka.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between rebels and government troops in the east Damascus neighborhood of Qaboon and five civilians were killed in nearby Jubar neighborhood, the Observatory said.

The Syrian Revolution General Council, a local network of opposition activists, reported fierce shelling, along with artillery fire, throughout the eastern limits of the city.

In the suburb of Kfar Batna, it said that mortar fire was landing at the rate of one shell per minute over densely populated areas and farmland, while nearby Irbin was also being shelled.

In the central city of Homs, the districts of Old Homs, Khaldiyeh and Juret al-Shiyah came under army bombardment, while one person was killed in shelling on the town of Rastan, the Observatory said.

The violence followed a bloody day on Tuesday in which the Observatory reported that 189 people were killed countrywide: 143 civilians, 14 rebels and 32 soldiers.

The watchdog says that over 25,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's rule broke out in March last year.

Comments 5
Thumb beiruti 29 August 2012, 15:34

Funny, I thought that the Regime Forces had "cleansed" Damascus of FSA fighters, yet they still fight. And the same for Aleppo. Either the government is lying...again, or the FSA elements have the capacity to recover after they have been killed. Probably the former is true.

Missing lqu7 29 August 2012, 15:58

This is going to be a long and bloody war. Assad must go, but his replacement should be an entity chosen by the Syrian people of all religions and ethnicities, and not by ones paid for by Saudi and Qatar. The last thing the world needs is a democracy lesson from those 2 countries.

Default-user-icon justsomeone (Guest) 29 August 2012, 21:28

Would you rather these lessons came from Persia?

Thumb bigsami 29 August 2012, 22:24

That's right Tony. One has to draw the line when it starts to smell like genocide!

Missing phillipo 30 August 2012, 07:24

Sorry tonyfarris, I just can't see or understand why you have to draw Israel into this internal Syrian conflict.