Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Syrian regime launches counteroffensive on rebels

BEIRUT, Lebanon — After weeks of rebel gains in the south, the Syrian regime launched a counteroffensive on Sunday with widespread airstrikes and an operation that reclaimed a northern village on a strategically important route.

At least 20 people were killed in heavy airstrikes that targeted rebels trying to topple the regime in at least seven cities and regions. To underline their resolve, the government called on opposition fighters to surrender their arms and warned in cellphone text messages that the army is "coming to get you."

State television said the aim of the counteroffensive was to send a message to the opposition and its Western backers that President Bashar Assad's troops are capable and willing to battle increasingly better-armed rebels on multiple fronts.

Rebels have been making gains in recent weeks, especially in the south near the border with Jordan. They have seized military bases and towns in the strategically important region between Damascus and the Jordanian border about 100 miles away.

But in the north, the main rebel stronghold, government troops have been chipping away slowly over the past weeks at rebel gains around the city of Aleppo, the country's main commercial hub. They have been hammering rebel-held districts inside the city with fighter jets and artillery, sowing fear among residents.

Troops recaptured on Saturday the village of Aziza on a strategic road that links Aleppo with its airport and military bases, activists said. Rebels have been trying to capture that airport and the nearby bases for months now.

The regime seized back the village southeast of Aleppo after a 10-day battle with rebels, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"It's a setback for the rebels because the village is an important strategic point from which the army can shell (opposition) positions all around the area," Abdul-Rahman said.

Sunday's airstrikes by Assad's government targeted Aleppo, the central cities of Homs and Hama, and the city of Idlib near the Turkish border. The western Mediterranean city of Latakia, the eastern province of Deir el-Zour and the suburbs of Damascus were also targeted.

Syrian regime launches counteroffensive on rebels 04/07/13 [Last modified: Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:50pm]
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. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  2. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  3. Why Grenfell tower burned: Regulators put cost before safety

    World

    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. "My fridge blew up," the man shouted.

    At least 79 people were killed in the fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, and the toll is expected to rise.
  4. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  5. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101