Rebel coalition takes Syrian army quarters as battle rages for Aleppo
A rebel Free Syrian Army fighter runs through a street in embattled Aleppo, November 18 2013. (AFP/Mahmud al-Halabi)
As an ongoing battle rages in the Syria’s northern city Aleppo, a rebel alliance group has taken a strategic military building in the government-controlled western district of the city.
Activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an insurgent coalition seized on Saturday a building that was being used by government forces as a military barracks, AFP reported.
Takeover of the key building opened up further possible entry points for attacks on other government-held areas of the city, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
In a video posted online, rebel fighters were seen capturing the barracks and raising the three-starred Syrian opposition flag over the building. The fighters evacuated parts of the building following intense Syrian government air raids Saturday morning, AFP reported.
The rebel alliance is one of at least two coalitions that has been vying for full control of Aleppo in a major assault in recent days. In a previous major assault on the city in 2012, rebel forces seized the eastern have of Aleppo from government forces, leaving the city divided roughly in half.
A second coalition of Islamist groups called Ansar al-Sharia has been involved in clashes in the government-held western half of the city since Thursday night.
The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front, was pushed back from its positions Friday night after a string of around 40 Syrian government airstrikes, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, 31 people were killed Friday evening in an explosion at a northwestern Idlib province mosque where al-Nusra Front members had gathered to break the daily fast observed during the Muslim holy month Ramadan.