31 July 2012, 01:51

US green-lights more supplies to Syrian opposition

US green-lights more supplies to Syrian opposition

The US Treasury Department has issued new licenses for supplying the Syrian opposition, including the Syrian Free Army, with non-lethal equipment and medicines.

Briefing reporters in Washington on Monday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a number of new licenses had been issued on Friday.

Emphasizing that the supplies included communications gear, medicines and other first-necessity items, she did not elaborate whether these also included night vision units and other things the opposition could use in combat.

Syria: UN chief observer's motorcade attacked

Unnamed gunmen have attacked the motorcade of the chief UN observer in Syria Babacar Gaye.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that nearly a dozen armored cars had been destroyed, but no one killed or wounded in the attack that had come the previous day.

General Gaye arrived in Damascus last week to replace the outgoing head of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria, Norwegian General Robert Mood.

Syria's top diplomat in London resigns

The Syrian chargé d'affaires in London, Khaled al-Ayoubi, has resigned, the British Foreign Office said on Monday.

"Mr al-Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Al-Ayoubi was the most senior Syrian diplomat serving in London, it added.

"His departure is another blow to the Assad regime. It illustrates the revulsion and despair the regime's actions are provoking amongst Syrians from all walks of life, inside the country and abroad.

"We urge others around Bashar al-Assad to follow Mr al-Ayoubi's example," the Foreign Office said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad withdrew Syria's ambassador to London in March.

Aleppo battle intensifies

At least 20 people are known to have died in renewed heavy fighting as Syrian government forces continue their attempts to dislodge armed rebels from parts of Syria’s second city Aleppo.

Syrian television has been showing pictures of Aleppo people rapturously welcoming government troops as liberators.

According to Syrian media, the captured terrorists include mercenaries from Yemen, Pakistan and the Russian region of Chechnya.

In a related development, thousands of Aleppo residents have been fleeing their embattled neighbourhoods.

Jihadists with “British accents” fighting Syria’s Assad

The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation into the claims of Jeroen Oerlemans, a photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week, that some of radical Islamists had “British accents.”

Dutch journalist Jeroen Oerlemans and UK photographer John Cantlie were attacked by anti-Assad troops when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week.

Although the two were blindfolded, they alleged none of their hostage-takers were Syrian. "They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya and they said there was some vague 'emir' at the head of the group," Mr Oerlemans said.

According to Jeroen Oerlemans, about 40 percent of the militants spoke English, while several talked with recognizable regional British accents, from Birmingham and London.

The pair was freed by the oppositional Free Syrian Army, who demanded that their nominal allies hand them over.

"They took us with them like a bunch of gangsters, shooting in the air as we rode out of there,” Oerlemans later related.

RIA, Rossia 24, Reuters, TASS, Russia Today

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