Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

South African court rules Jacob Zuma should face corruption charges

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A Royal Challenge from the Obamas

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Lights go out in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia goes green (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Stalemate in Spain and Protests in Paris (part 2)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Cinema, a French love affair

Read more

#TECH 24

'VR' immersive journalism

Read more

REVISITED

Nepal revisited, one year after the deadly earthquake

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France's River Charente, a rich ecosystem

Read more

FOCUS

Libya: Who's running the country?

Read more

Europe

Syrian rebels seize army base on Iraqi border

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-22

Opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime seized a military base in eastern Syria on Thursday, adding another district to their growing territory along the oil-rich Iraqi border, which the rebels now say is the largest region under their control.

Syrian rebels captured an army artillery base in the eastern oil producing province of Deir al-Zor on Thursday, weakening President Bashar al-Assad’s control of the strategic region bordering Iraq.

“After 20 days and 44 martyrs, the Mayadeen military base fell at 8.30 am (06.30 GMT), Abu Laila, an official in the Military Revolutionary Council in the province, said. “The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir al-Zor, is now under rebel control,” he told Reuters news agency.

Another opposition source in contact with fighters confirmed that the base, which lies 42 south-east of the city of Deir al-Zor, had fallen to rebel hands. "The area east of the city of Deir al-Zor on the Iraqi border, is now the largest area in the whole country that is out of army control," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) director Rami Abdel Rahman. "In that area of Syria, there are deep tribal loyalties, and fighters in western Iraq help the rebels fight the regime," he told AFP news agency.

The oil and gas-rich area of Deir al-Zor is home to Sunni Muslim tribes whose ties extend across the border into Iraq.

Troops expelled by rebels from Mayadeen were forced to withdraw to a military airport east of the city of Deir al-Zor, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, most oil and gas fields in the large desert province are still under regime control, said the UK-based SOHR, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and medics on the ground.

The Syrian National Council, one of the country's main opposition groups, declared Deir al-Zor a "disaster area" last month.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-11-22

  • DIPLOMACY

    EU recognises Syrian National Coalition as 'legitimate' representative

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria condemns 'hostile' France as violence rages

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    France to push Europe on arming Syrian rebels

    Read more

COMMENT(S)