Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Battle for Syria's Aleppo airport intensifies

People search through destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces in Aleppo on Tuesday.

Associated Press

People search through destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces in Aleppo on Tuesday.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The battle for Syria's second-largest airport intensified Saturday as government troops tried to reverse recent strategic gains the rebels have made in the northeast in their quest to topple President Bashar Assad.

Assad's forces have been locked in a stalemate with rebels in Aleppo since July when the city, the largest in Syria, became a major battlefield in the 2-year-old conflict the United Nations says has killed at least 70,000 people. For months, rebels have been trying to capture the international airport, which is closed because of the fighting.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group, said the current fighting was focused on a section of a highway linking the airport with Aleppo, the commercial hub of the nation.

The rebels have cut off the highway, which the army has been using to transport troops and supplies to a military base within the airport complex. Rebels have made other advances in the battle for the airport in recent weeks, including overrunning two army bases along the road to the airport.

The rebels also control large swaths of countryside outside Aleppo and whole neighborhoods inside the city, which is carved up into areas controlled by the regime and others held by rebels.

On Friday, regime forces fired three missiles into a rebel-held area in eastern Aleppo, hitting several buildings and killing 37 people, according to the Observatory.

A similar attack on Tuesday in another impoverished Aleppo neighborhood killed at least 33 people, almost half of them children.

In Damascus, government forces shelled several rebellious suburbs Saturday as part of their efforts to dislodge opposition fighters who have used the towns and villages surrounding the capital as a staging ground for their attempts to push into the center of the city.

Recent rebel advances in the suburbs, combined with the bombings and three straight days of mortar attacks last week, marked the most sustained challenge to the heart of Damascus, the seat of Assad's power.

A suicide car bombing on Thursday near the ruling Baath Party headquarters in central Damascus killed 53 people and wounded more than 200, according to state media. Anti-regime activists put the death toll at 61, which would make it the deadliest bombing of the revolt in the capital.

The different tolls could not be reconciled.

Efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria so far have failed, leaving the international community at a loss of how to end the civil war.

Battle for Syria's Aleppo airport intensifies 02/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Evening update: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic, second wave follows

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 8 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  2. Trump 'beautiful statues' tweets roil Tampa Bay's own Confederate debate

    National

    It started Thursday at 9:07 a.m., as it does so often these days, with a tweet:

    The Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument stands in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-2 last month to move it to a private cemetery in Brandon before voting again this week to put a deadline on a public sector fundraising campaign to pay part of the cost. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  4. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  5. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]