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Rebels claim control over most of Syria

Rebels claim control over most of Syria
The rebel Free Syrian Army said on Sunday that it now controls most of the war-torn country, a day after announcing that it has moved its command centre from Turkey to ‘liberated areas’ inside Syria.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held talks about Syria on Saturday, agreeing the crisis was ‘a steadily increasing threat to regional peace and stability,’ according to a statement.

Brahimi, who was appointed in early September, is due to brief the UN Security Council on Monday about his first round of talks with both the regime, including President Bashar al-Assad, and opposition groups.

The international community’s efforts to halt more than 18 months of bloodshed in Syria have so far failed to make any headway, and fighting persisted on the ground overnight and on Sunday morning.

Regime forces shelled many rebel-held areas, including in and around Damascus, second city Aleppo in the north, neighbouring Idlib, the central cities of Hama and Homs, and Daraa in the south, a watchdog said.

In Aleppo, the key battleground for the past two months, an AFP correspondent reported clashes as rebels exchanged fire in Bustan al-Qasr and Bustan al-Zahraa neighbourhoods.

Government forces shelled the Aleppo districts of Fardus, Sakhur and Suleiman al-Halabi, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based-based watchdog.

It added that two rebel fighters were killed in Daraa province where the uprising against the Assad regime broke out in March 2011. The Observatory said that 150 people were killed across Syria on Saturday– 88 civilians, 30 rebels and 32 soldiers. Another 25 bodies were found in Damascus.

As the fighting continued unabated, a rebel commander told AFP that the regime’s aerial superiority was the only thing preventing the Free Syrian Army from taking control of the capital.
AFP

AFP

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