Rebels: Iranian combatants in Syria to aid Assad (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Roi Kais Published: 08.04.12, 12:5808/04/12)
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Syrian rebel leader says over 3,000 Iranian snipers have arrived in
Damascus to join the Syrian regime´s ranks; army no longer trusts
local troops, he claims
Over the past few weeks more than 3,000 Iranian snipers have arrived
in Damascus to aid the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad,
Al-Arabiya reported, citing a leader of one of the rebel groups
operating in the civil war-torn country.
The head of the Joint Military Council, one of the groups fighting to
maintain control of the city of Aleppo, told the Dubai-based
television network that the Syrian army no longer trusts its local
troops, who are now considered potential defectors.
Meanwhile, a former Syrian soldier who defected from Assad´s ranks to
join the rebels claimed that the embattled Syrian president is
staying in an underground hideout located in a mountainous area
behind his Damascus palace.
According to Khaled al-Hamoud, the building belongs to the
president´s brother, Maher Assad, and his wife.
"The Syrian leader´s entire family is there," he told Asharq
Alawsat. "We have the exact coordinates of the site, as well as other
strategic sites, including chemical weapon caches."
The FSA also said it was able to seize control of buildings housing
radio and television stations, but later had to retreat after the
regime´s army helicopters shelled them.
Captain Hussam Abu Mohammed, who participated in the battles around
the buildings, said that the army’s retreat was “tactical.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed rebel forces
withdrew from the district of Izaa, where the state television
building is situated.
“Rebel forces planted explosives there, and regime forces shelled the
area,” the Britain-based Observatory reported. “The rebels then
withdrew from the area.”
Witnesses also said heavy explosions have been heard since dawn in
Damascus. Helicopters were seen circling the sky.
Syrian rebels appeared to be renewing an offensive in the capital
only two weeks after the government crushed a rebel run on the city.
The fresh battles Saturday show that Assad´s victories could be
fleeting as armed opposition groups regroup and resurge.
Syria´s uprising began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests
against the regime, but the conflict has transformed into a civil
war. Activists estimate 19,000 people have been killed. AP
contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 08/04/12)
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