10 December 2012, 13:09

Islamist rebels seize key north Syria army base

Islamist rebels seize key north Syria army base

Syrian Islamist rebels, led by the radical Al-Nusra Front, seized a strategic army base in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Monday after weeks of fierce fighting, a watchdog said.

"Al-Nusra Front, alongside several Islamist rebel battalions linked to it, have seized control of the army base headquarters at Sheikh Suleiman," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Assad’s regime is in its final stages – Germany’s intelligence official 

The head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency (BND) has expressed confidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is its final stages and will be unable to survive as more parts of the country slip from his control.

“Armed rebels are co-ordinating better, which is making their fight against Assad more effective,” Gerhard Schindler told the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung newspaper, in an interview published on Saturday.

“Evidence is mounting that the regime in Damascus is now in its final phase,” Schindler said.

Although neither Assad nor the rebels had been able to take the upper hand, Assad was losing control of more and more parts of the country, and was focusing his energy on defending Damascus, key military sites and airports, Schindler added.

Syria peace still an option - envoy

There is still a chance for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict, even though the situation in the country is getting worse each day.

US and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said this after meeting in Geneva on Sunday with Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov and his US counterpart William Burns.

The participants in the Geneva parley reiterated that even though the situation in Syria was deteriorating each day, a political solution was imperative and still possible.

The sides agreed to meet again shortly.

Damascus smoldering war zone

Syrian government troops continue to heavily engage rebels in southern and northeastern Damascus and some of the city’s outlying suburbs.

In the south, security forces have successfully flushed out Islamist radicals from several strategic neighbourhoods. In the northeast, thick black smoke can be seen rising into the sky.

According to the Al-Watan news service, the recent battle east of Syria’s second city Aleppo cost the rebels about a thousand lives.

Brahimi holds 'constructive' talks with U.S. and Russia on Syria crisis

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said after talks with senior U.S. and Russian officials on Sunday that they had agreed it was still possible to find a political solution to the deepening crisis in Syria.

"The meeting was constructive and held in a spirit of cooperation. It explored avenues to move forward a peaceful process and mobilise greater international action in favour of a political solution to the Syrian crisis," Brahimi said in a statement issued at the end of all-day talks in Geneva.

Voice of Russia, AFP,  Reuters, TASS, RIA

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