Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France's Macron likens divisions within EU to 'civil war'

Read more

ENCORE!

Sting and Shaggy on making musical magic together

Read more

FOCUS

The citizens finding solutions to Lebanon's chronic waste crisis

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Head of UN entity probing war crimes in Syria speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

The future of work: How the gig economy is changing the jobs market

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'France has underinvested in early childhood education for many years'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Badass': Accolades pour in for Southwest pilot who landed plane after engine failure

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Emmanuel Macron in Berlin: Will Europe's superhero succeed?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Violence in DR Congo's Ituri Province forces thousands to live in camps

Read more

Middle east

Syrian army defectors attack intelligence complex

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-16

Syrian activists said army defectors attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus early Wednesday, in the first reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against the Assad regime.

REUTERS - Syrian army defectors attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus early on Wednesday, in the first reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.

Members of the Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets and machineguns at a large Air Force Intelligence complex situated on the northern edge of the capital on the Damascus-Aleppo highway at about 2:30 a.m. (0030 GMT).

A gunfight ensued and helicopters circled the area, the sources said.

"I heard several explosions, the sound of machinegun fire being exchanged," said a resident of the suburb of Harasta, who declined to be named.

There was no immediate report of casualties and the area where the fighting occurred remained inaccessible, the sources said.

Syria's ban on most foreign media makes it hard to verify events on the ground.

Together with Military Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence is in charge of preventing dissent within the army. The two divisions have been instrumental in a crackdown on the uprising against Assad, which the United Nations says has killed 3,500 people.

Syria's military is controlled by Assad's brother Maher and members of their minority Alawite sect, while the army is comprised mostly of Sunni Muslims, who also form the majority of Syria's population and have been defecting from the army in mounting numbers.

The pervasive security apparatus, dominated by Alawites, underpins the power structure. Security chiefs of an estimated eight major secret police organisations answer directly to President Assad.

An Arab official, who did not want to be named, said insurgent attacks on loyalist forces rose sharply in the last 10 days, although the army remains largely cohesive.

Syrian authorities blame "armed terrorist groups" for the unrest, and say they have killed 1,100 army and police.
 

Date created : 2011-11-16

  • SYRIA

    Arab League meets with Syrian opposition

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Turkey threatens to cut power supplies to Syria

    Read more

COMMENT(S)