Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clashes near Syria airport kill 150

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Intense clashes between the Syrian army and rebel fighters near the country's second-largest airport killed around 150 people in recent days, antiregime activists said Friday, pointing to the significance both sides in the country's civil war place on controlling key infrastructure.

The battle for the international airport near Aleppo, Syria's largest city, resembles other battles over strategic assets that could provide an edge in the larger fight for the country.

This week, rebels seized a hydroelectric dam and a major oil field, cutting off President Bashar Assad's regime from key resources necessary for its long-term survival. On Friday, activists also reported that rebels seized an air defense base and fought near two other army installations in Syria's north.

Rebels have been trying for months to capture Aleppo's international airport, which lies east of the city in a complex with a smaller military airfield and an army base charged with protecting the area.

The base, home to the Syrian army's 80th Brigade, fell to rebel forces on Wednesday, and fighting has continued over the airports since, with both sides shelling each other's positions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that about 150 people had been killed in the fighting over the last two days, roughly half of them rebels and half of them government troops.

"The operation will continue until we control the airport and Nairab," Col. Abdul-Jabbar al-Aqidi, commander of the rebels' Military Council in Aleppo, told pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV.

If the rebels were to capture the two airports, it would be a symbolic blow to the regime and could shift the strategic balance in northern Syria. The regime has used the airports to ferry supplies to its forces bogged down in the stalemated fight for Aleppo, though recent clashes near the airport have halted air traffic.

Clashes near Syria airport kill 150 02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:13pm]
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. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  2. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.