Syrian opposition says Damascus forces using thermobaric weapons on
civilians in northern Syria; Damascus TV reports forces ´cleansing
area of terrorists´
Syrian opposition sources claim that the Assad regime used "mass-
killing thermobaric weapons" on civilians in Aleppo, in northern
Syria, the UK´s Times reported on Friday.
Thermobaric are lethal weapons that explode above a target area with
a massive blast and suck air in, leaving a vacuum.
Commanders of the Free Syria Army (FSA) said that the heavy shelling
over the Aleppo suburb of Salaheddin included the use of such weapons.
"We have staged a tactical withdrawal. The district is completely
empty of rebel fighters. Regime forces are now advancing into
Salaheddin," Hossam Abu Mohammed was quoted by the newspaper as
Both rebel forces and human rights groups reported that warplanes and
tanks had attacked towns north of Aleppo. FAS officials said that
Syrian President Bashar Assad´s forces were trying to cut the main
rebel supply route into the city.
Syrian state television said that the regime forces "cleansed"
Salaheddin from terrorists.
Meanwhile, veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to
be named to replace Kofi Annan as the UN-Arab League joint special
envoy for Syria barring a last-minute change, diplomats said on
An announcement could come as early as next week but the diplomats,
who spoke on condition of anonymity, warned that there are sometimes
last-minute changes if a key government has concerns about the
appointment or the candidate himself has misgivings.
Also on Friday, the British government said it is offering £5 million
($7.8 million) to Syria´s rebel forces to pay for communications
equipment and medical supplies.
In an op-ed article for the Times of London published Friday, Foreign
Secretary William Hague said the UK would intensify contacts with the
political wing of the Free Syrian Army, to "prepare for the
inevitable day of (President Bashar) Assad´s fall."
Diplomats said Hague would announce the details of the new funding
later, but insisted that none of the money would be used for weapons.