Rebels say command base moved inside Syria
23 September, 2012
ALEPPO/AMMAN: Rebels have moved their command base from Turkey to 'liberated areas' inside Syria, they announced on Saturday as regime troops and rebels battled for control of a corridor near the border.
"The Free Syrian Army (FSA) command has moved into liberated areas of Syria following arrangements made with battalions and brigades to secure these zones," FSA Chief Colonel Riyadh al Asaad said in a video posted on the Internet.
The next step would be to 'liberate' the capital Damascus, he added.
Nearly 80 percent of towns and villages on the Turkish border are outside government control, and Syrian President Bashar al Assad's portraits have been removed from many public buildings, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The transfer will allow the command centre to be closer to the fighters," General Mustafa al Sheikh, head of the military council grouping rebel chiefs, told AFP.
Rebel-held areas of Aleppo came under regime artillery fire on Saturday, with loud explosions heard across the northern city, an AFP correspondent reported.
At least 11 soldiers and five rebels were killed in clashes in the Orm and Kaf Jum areas of Aleppo province, near the Turkish border, the observatory said.
Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by telephone that the regime was determined to prevent rebels linking up between western Aleppo and the neighbouring province of Idlib as this would form an extensive insurgent-held region on the border with Turkey, which supports the rebels.
In shelling of several rebel-held district of Aleppo city, five members of the same family, including children, were killed in Maysar, said Abdel Rahman.
The observatory said regime artillery also targeted the districts of Katergi, Shaar, Sakhur, Hanano, Arkub and Marjeh.
In the central city of Homs, where rebels remain entrenched in many areas, at least one soldier was killed near the Old City, while a civilian also died in Juret al Shiyah district, the observatory said.
Rebel fighters trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad shot down a fighter jet as it flew over the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province, a witness said. The witness, an independent journalist who asked to remain anonymous, said rebel fighters were attacking a military base near the town when the jet flew over and rebels shot it down with anti-aircraft guns.