Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rebels seize Syrian military base, take munitions

BASE OF THE 46TH REGIMENT, Syria — After a nearly two-month siege, Syrian rebels overwhelmed a large military base in the north of the country and made off with tanks, armored vehicles and truckloads of munitions that rebel leaders say will give them a boost in the fight against President Bashar Assad's army.

The capture of the base of the Syrian army's 46th Regiment near the northern city of Allepo is a sharp blow to the government's efforts to roll back rebels gains and shows a rising level of organization among opposition forces.

More important than the base's fall, however, are the weapons the rebels found inside.

At a rebel base where much of the haul was taken after the weekend victory, rebel fighters unloaded half a dozen large trucks piled with green boxes full of mortar shells, artillery shells, rockets and rifles. Parked nearby were five tanks, two armored vehicles, two rocket launchers and two heavy-caliber cannons.

"There has never been a battle before with this much booty," said Gen. Ahmad al-Faj of the rebels' Joint Command, a grouping of rebel brigades that was involved in the siege. Speaking on Monday at the rebel base, set up in a former customs office at Syria's Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, he said the haul would be distributed among the brigades.

For months, Syria's rebels have gradually been destroying government checkpoints and taking over towns in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo along the Turkish border.

Rebel fighters say that weapons seized in such battles have been essential to their transformation from ragtag brigades into forces capable of challenging Assad's professional army. Cross-border arms smuggling from Turkey and Iraq has also played a role.

NEW RECOGNITION: A newly formed Syrian opposition coalition received a boost Tuesday when Britain officially recognized it as the sole representative of the Syrian people. The National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed in the gulf nation of Qatar on Oct. 11 under pressure from the United States for a stronger, more united opposition body to serve as a counterweight to more extremist forces.

Comments

Military sex assault reports jump 10 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say reports of sexual assaults across the military jumped by nearly 10 percent in 2017, a year that saw a massive online nude-photo sharing scandal rock the services, triggering greater awareness of sexual harassment and o...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors aren’t happy.

A religious group has settled in a big pink house in Clearwater. Neighbors aren’t happy.

CLEARWATER — The first thing John Trevena noticed about his new neighbors was the color of their house: Pepto-Bismol pink.It didn’t worry Trevena, a criminal defense lawyer who moved into the three-bedroom rental home next door in 2015."I knew it was...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

LAND O’LAKES — Kayla Peña filled up her water bottle then returned to her lunch table at Sunlake High School when she heard a commotion in the cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon.A female student was riled up, walking back and forth, Peña said, screaming ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Macron says Trump not eager to defend Iran deal

The Latest: Macron says Trump not eager to defend Iran deal

French President Emmanuel Macron says that he has no "inside information" on whether President Donald Trump will pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal but that it's clear Trump "is not very much eager to defend it."
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Serial killing suspect faces more murder charges

The Latest: Serial killing suspect faces more murder charges

A man accused of committing serial killings and rapes in the 1970s and '80s in California has been charged with four more counts of murder
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 8:36 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 8:36 p.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Patton Oswalt credits late wife in Golden State Killer case

Patton Oswalt credits late wife in Golden State Killer case

Comedian Patton Oswalt proudly and tenderly praised his late wife for her work on the Golden State Killer case
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Bill Cosby's lawyers get slammed by advocates for women

Bill Cosby's lawyers get slammed by advocates for women

As the jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial deliberates his fate, his lawyers are coming under heavy criticism for what some are calling a blatant attempt to "victim-shame" the parade of women who have leveled accusations against the comedian
Updated: 1 hour ago