Arab Today, arab today battlefield to decide syria’s fate
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Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Battlefield to decide Syria’s fate

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Battlefield to decide Syria’s fate

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U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told world powers Friday they must overcome their rivalries to put an end to the “proxy war” in Syria, as deadly fighting raged in Damascus and the country’s second city Aleppo. Ban spoke ahead of a U.N. General Assembly vote that overwhelmingly condemned the Security Council for its failure to act and condemned President Bashar Assad’s use of “heavy weapons” in the nearly 17-month civil war. Shells rained down on rebel positions in Aleppo as fighting was reported in Syria’s commercial capital and in Damascus, with the anti-regime Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting at least 70 people killed across the country. At the same time, new weekly anti-regime protests were held across Syria in solidarity with the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, which troops have pounded for weeks. The day’s slogan was “Deir al-Zour – victory comes from the east,” and the Observatory reported claims that 70 percent of the strategic oil-producing province which borders Iraq was now in rebel hands. Rebels stormed a complex for political security and other buildings near the town of Al-Mayadeen, halfway between the provincial capital and the border with Iraq Friday, said Omar Abu Laila, a spokesman for the Eastern Military Revolt Council. He said several security personnel had defected over the last few days and that “13 who remained defending the complex” had been killed. In Aleppo, hundreds gathered in Al-Shaar neighborhood chanting: “The people want the execution of Bashar!” and “The people want freedom and peace,” a reporter at the scene said. As jet fighters and helicopter gunships swooped over Aleppo, the Observatory reported demonstrations in several neighborhoods and fierce clashes in the rebel-held Salaheddine district. A Syrian security source said troops were “testing the terrorists’ defense systems … before annihilating them by carrying out a surgical operation.” In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern over rebel attempts to gain control of Aleppo and condemned foreign nations for providing the opposition with military supplies. “Moscow is very worried by the dangerous development in the situation, the violence and provocations aimed at expanding the scope and the cruelty in the civil war,” the ministry said. The Observatory also reported protests in the Kurdish region of Hasakeh, Deraa province in the south and in the northwestern province of Idlib, where one demonstrator was shot dead. Also in Idlib, in the northwestern Turkish border region, five rebels were killed in an army ambush, the Observatory said, while the official SANA news agency said regime forces had killed 17 “terrorists” in Aleppo. Another Syrian brigadier general has crossed the border into Turkey to join the ranks of opposition fighters, bringing the total number of rebel generals in Turkey to 29, a diplomat said Friday. On another border, Syrian army helicopter bombardment killed 16 rebels from the same family in the southern Hauran Plain, a strategic region that links Damascus with Jordan, where fighting has intensified in the past few days, opposition sources said Friday. The loss on the rebel side came after fighters attacked an army roadblock Thursday near the town of Busra al-Harir and were pursued from the air, the sources said, adding that army artillery also started shelling the town. There was also fighting in Damascus, where six civilians were killed as loyalist forces moved on rebels a day after shelling killed 21 civilians at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, the Observatory said. Syrian troops backed by dozens of tanks and armored vehicles stormed Damascus’ southern district of Tadamon again Friday. The army has been trying to enter Tadamon for more than a week, but was held back by fierce resistance from the rebels. Activists said most of the district was under the control of government forces by early evening and that government troops had executed at least 12 people. Their reports could not be immediately verified. At the General Assembly, Ban evoked the U.N.’s failure in the Srebenica massacre in Bosnia and warned the divided Security Council that “the immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence.” The secretary-general said growing radicalization and extremism had been predicted at the start of the conflict in March 2011. “The next step was also forewarned: a proxy war, with regional and international players arming one side or the other. All of these dire predictions have come to pass,” Ban said. He turned his fire on the Security Council, which he said had become “paralyzed” by divisions over Syria. After his address, the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a Saudi-drafted resolution criticizing the Security Council’s failure to act and condemning Assad’s use of heavy weapons. The resolution said members deplored “the Security Council failure to agree on measures” to make the Syrian government carry out U.N. demands to end almost 18 months of fighting.The resolution was passed by 133 votes with 12 countries against and 31 abstaining. Russia and China, which have vetoed three Security Council resolutions on Syria, were among high profile opponents of the resolution. Syria strongly opposed the resolution and its U.N. envoy, Bashar Jafaari, accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states of arming rebel groups. The resolution itself would have “no impact whatsoever.” The ambassador said he and his family had been the target of death threats. “There have been several threats of murder against me and various Syrian diplomats from sites that exist in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the United States.” The head of the opposition Syrian National Council said the resolution showed that the Assad regime has lost legitimacy. “This vote confirms that … the international community does not believe in its legitimacy anymore,” Abdel-Basset Sayda told a news conference in Iraqi Kurdistan. (daily star)  

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