Bashar soldiers 'fled like rats': rebels

2012-07-30 20:39
Free Syrian Army soldiers in Anadan 16km from Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

Free Syrian Army soldiers in Anadan 16km from Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Anadan - "The soldiers fled like rats," says a grinning rebel after he and his fellow fighters captured Anadan checkpoint from the Syrian army, giving them strategic access to Aleppo where they are battling a fierce loyalist offensive.

"Bashar don't go, we will catch you," jokes another rebel, sitting on crates of ammunition in the back of a truck where the Islamist flag - black with white lettering -  flutters.

The jubilant rebels celebrate their victory with gunfire, while some retrieve weapons and ammunition left behind by the retreating Syrian troops after 10 hours of fierce fighting during the night.

The ground near the military post is littered with bullets of all calibres, as well as heavy machine guns and Kalashnikovs, after the rebels captured it just before dawn on Monday.

The Anadan checkpoint, about five kilometres northwest of Aleppo, gives the rebels free movement between Turkey and the northern city, Syria's commercial capital.

The overrunning of the checkpoint comes just days after Syrian troops on Saturday launched an offensive to dislodge the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), composed of deserters and armed civilians, from Aleppo.

At Anadan, a rebel could be seen taking shells from an army tank and handing them over to a colleague to be loaded into a pick-up truck. Nearby lies a still-smouldering truck that had been used to ferry soldiers, its tyres melted.

More trucks are parked under a large tent, where the rebels empty dozens of boxes of ammunition and search through whatever has been left behind by the Syrian soldiers.

A rebel picks up a book, a biography of Hafez al-Assad, former president and father of Bashar al-Assad, and tears it into pieces.

Dusk attack

The assault on the checkpoint came soon after the call at dusk on Sunday by the muezzin signalling the end of the day's Ramadan fasting. It was ordered by Lieutenant Rifaat Khalil.

"We had 150 rebels ready to fight, but we sent a first wave of 50 men," says the lieutenant.

The rebels arrived from all sides and opened fire with rockets, machine guns and Kalashnikovs.

"We have arrested 25 soldiers and recovered six bodies, but maybe they took away other bodies when they fled," adds the FSA officer.

Once the soldiers had fled, the rebels counted their own losses: four men killed.

During the battle they seized eight tanks, only one of which was dysfunctional.

"Now we can use them to fight in Aleppo," says Khalil.

"This victory strengthens the position of the rebels in Aleppo, and God willing, all the rebels are heading to Aleppo to free the city from Assad's gangs and the shabihas", he says, referring to the pro-regime militiamen.

Aleppo, the country's economic powerhouse, lies just behind a hill overlooking a dam near Anadan.

Vital supply axis

With the capture of the checkpoint, the rebels now control a major route between the Turkish border and north of Aleppo - a vital axis for the shipment of weapons, fuel and food for opposition fighters locked in battle in Aleppo.

The rebels had tried in May to take the dam held by the Syrian army but their presence in Anadan, a few hundred metres from the dam, attracted massive bombing from the soldiers and forced locals to flee.

Today Anadan is a ghost town. Its streets are dotted with shell holes, walls are blackened by fire bombs, homes lie looted and deserted with their windows broken.

"People have left their doors open and gone," says General Abdel Nasser Firzat, commander of the rebel troops in Anadan. Firzat, who spent 10 years in Russia, defected in June to be part of the rebellion.

"My three children left Aleppo, a few hours later my wife did the same, and I left last. We ended up outside Aleppo. I took them to safety and then came here," says Firzat who has made a spacious house in the town his temporary residence.

Firzat says the regime still "controls the skies".

But, he asserts, Assad's army only controls three areas of the countryside surrounding Aleppo. He points to a military map showing an airfield from where helicopters take off, and an artillery post.

As he speaks a helicopter flies high above.

"Before the army bombed us day and night but now they are too occupied in Aleppo and only bomb us during the day," says Firzat.

Suddenly there is an explosion a few metres down the road and a cloud of dirt and dust rises. The rebels run in all directions as shells begin falling closer.

Two youngsters on a motorcycle rush to take refuge in the town. They bow their heads to protect themselves and ride as fast as possible after a shell falls about 50m from them.

The bombings continue throughout the afternoon in Anadan and surrounding villages.

Read more on:    fsa  |  bashar al-assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Epping - 15:22 PM
    Road name: N7
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofus Circle
  • Wednesday Wellington - 14:45 PM
    Road name: R44 Northbound
    ACCIDENT between Wellington and Hermon
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.