Army retakes Damascus

2012-08-05 14:05

Damascus - The Syrian army said on Saturday it has seized the last rebel-held district of the capital as insurgents in the strategic northern city of Aleppo came under heavy bombardment by regime forces.

The army said it had retaken the hold-out rebel district of Tadamun in Damascus, a day after the United Nations deplored the failure of diplomacy to end a conflict that has reportedly claimed more than 21 000 lives in nearly 17 months.

A brigadier general who refused to give his name told journalists visiting the neighbourhood of Tadamun, the scene of heavy fighting earlier, that it has been retaken, and that the military now controls all of the capital.

"We have cleansed all the districts of Damascus, from Al-Midan to Mazzeh, from Al-Hajar Al-Aswad to Qadam... to Tadamun," the last rebel bastion in the capital, said the officer.

An anti-regime activist, Lena al-Shami, told AFP in Beirut by Skype that the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) had withdrawn from Tadaman and would focus on "hit-and-run tactics against important regime targets."


Tadamun borders the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk and is home to both Syrians and Palestinians. It is now deserted and devastated, with electricity cables hanging down between rooftops and paving badly damaged.

In Yalda next to Tadamun, an AFP reporter saw a dozen corpses thrown on a rubbish dump. Some had been burned and others mutilated.

Fighting erupted in Damascus on 15 July and raged for several days as rebels seized several districts, forcing thousands of residents to flee.

In Aleppo, Abdel Jabar Oqaida, commander of the FSA there, said the Salaheddin district had "come under the heaviest bombardment since the battle began" on 20 July but that loyalists had "not managed to advance."

A senior government security figure warned that "the battle for Aleppo has not yet begun, and what is happening now is just the appetiser... The main course will come later."

The official said more reinforcements had arrived and that at least 20 000 troops were now on the ground. "The other side are also sending reinforcements," the official added of the rebels, who claim to have seized half the city.

Because of restrictions on the free movement of journalists in Syria, none of the claims can be verified.

Echoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon's remarks on Thursday that violence was intensifying, a watchdog said July was the deadliest month since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime erupted in March 2011.

Rami Abdel Rahman who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 4 239 people, the vast majority civilians, died last month, bringing the overall toll since March 2011 to more than 21 000.

Explosions shook Aleppo as fighter jets and helicopter gunships overflew the city and rebels tried to storm the state television building before being driven back by shelling, said the Britain-based Observatory.

State media said the army defended the site from "mercenary terrorist groups."

The violence killed 129 people across Syria on Saturday, including 21 civilians in Deir Ezzor, 11 in Aleppo province, 20 in Damascus and 11 in Hama, the Observatory said.

Overall 76 civilians, 36 regime forces and 17 rebels died.

  • gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-05 15:14

    The boys in the syrian army are now getting a first hand experience of the destruction of their parent's homes in Damascus and Aleppo. Many more defections to come.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-05 17:01

    "We have cleansed all the districts of Damascus". The choice of words is pertinent.

  • Shane Loxton - 2012-08-05 17:28

    Fred lets remember that English is after all not ther mother language, its like me asking you to speak Arabic in the right context

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-05 17:56

    "the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) had withdrawn from Tadaman and would focus on "hit-and-run tactics against important regime targets." A euphamism for terrorism!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 18:13

      To fight terrorist, you don't send them an email !! You fight back with every means possible. And the ironi is, that on the day this assad DOG is hanging from a tree, suddenly there are no pro assad Syrians , not even in the army !!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-05 20:26

      "To fight terrorist, you don't send them an email !! You fight back with every means possible." Never thought I would ever agree with you. So what's the fuss about the Syrian army using all the weapons at its disposal to fight terrorists.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 21:39

      You are no differrent, than the Nats, anybody who opposed them was a "terrorist"!!!!!

      douglas.hollis.7 - 2012-08-05 22:39 nice to read more pearls of wisdom from our local (in)fidel. Sorry, but you are clearly seriously deluded. What's the weather like on your planet, I wonder? LOL.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-06 07:47

      You have the temerity of an imbecile when all you can do is penned one or two sentences of insult. I think you'll find insults work best after you've supplied some argument.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 18:09

    Every civil war has it setbacks for the oppressed, but this time, they are soo determent to get these assad terrorist out, that they will not give up. Freedom will come to Syria, for sure !!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 18:48

      Pet, If your heroes, these assad dogs, would have held even, ONE election, in the past FIFTY YEARS, you would not had to quesss.....!!!! Show just ONE country in the world, that after their dictator was ousted, more than 5 % of the population , would prefer theit tyrant was still in power ! Why do you think, they grab power by force instead of a 'little noisy circus', as your boss Fidel, calls it. The problem with you silly and childish radicals, is that you get stuck in a groof, and you go on and on and on about it. Like you continously saying that the Libyans would like to have that fruitcake back. You just suck this rubbish out of your thumb. The elections of last month, show NO sign of it at all. Just accept, for the Libyans, gaddafi is the past, it is history, they are now busy building a more just and decent soceity, -------------one without thousands of shallow unmarked graves !!!!!!-----

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 19:31

      Pet, ""I don't support the Syrian government nor do I support the "opposition" or Al Qaeda."" Please don't insult , just about every reader on this site , with this kind of bullsh.t!!! For 18 months, you have non stop put ALL the blame for EVERY death, onto EVERYBODY, except on that assad ,MONSTER, with his terrorist army. You have ignored what the UN says, UN observers on the ground, HRW, Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-moon, Amnesty international, the Red Cross; EWVERYBODY but those assad terrorists. You have been going on non stop about the involvement of the West. Not because there is any evidence, but it suits your silly childish anti Western CRAP That's all !!!!

      douglas.hollis.7 - 2012-08-05 22:45

      Anthony, keep up the good work. Appreciate a voice of sanity on this topic. As opposed to some other voices on here, who clearly live in some bizarro-style parallel universe. Long live the Free Syrian Army!! May they overrun Assad's brutal terrorist regime, and restore peace and democracy to their country.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-05 20:02

    Pet, Have a good look at the photo with this article. If your hero, this assad monster has a spare plane, he will drop a bomb, on these 'terrorists'!!! And than there are another 150 less opposition memebers in Syria. I don't understand, after making all these disturbed pro assad terrorist comments, how you can sleep at nite !!!!

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-06 16:34

    "I announce my defection today from the regime of killing and terror, and I join the ranks of the revolt," Prime Minister Hijab said in statement read by his spokesperson Mohammed al-Otri on Al-Jazeera news channel from Amman. "Syria is passing through the most difficult war crimes, genocide, and barbaric killings and massacres against unarmed citizens," he said.

      douglas.hollis.7 - 2012-08-06 18:38

      Good quotes, love it. Here we have a top ranking insider, no less than the Prime Minister, distancing himself from his former regime, and holding them responsible for the terror in his country. Wondering what Fidel could possibly have to say about this?? Is it all Western propaganda?? Who are the real terrorists here? Certainly not the Free Syrian Army.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-06 20:26

      Truth and positive energy, are stronger than, untruth and negative energy.

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