Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Exxon sues US over $2m fine for violating Russia sanctions

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Too sexy for Malaysia': Hit single 'Despacito' stirs controversy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is this the end of Emmanuel Macron's honeymoon period?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Macron's air force uniform draws Tom Cruise comparisons

Read more

THE DEBATE

Polish democracy under threat? EU warns Warsaw over judicial independence

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Game of Thrones and TV's golden age

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of the summer's exhibitions in Paris

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Game of Thrones returns: Mega fans bask in themed pop-up bar

Read more

FOCUS

Unwanted children: 3,800 babies abandoned in South Africa every year

Read more

Middle east

Syrian rebels overrun northern city of Raqa

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-05

Syrian rebels took "near total control" of Raqa on Monday after days of fierce fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The northern city is strategically located on the Euphrates river near the Turkish border.

Syrian rebels battling troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad overran Raqa on Monday after days of fierce fighting, and were now in  "near-total control" of the northern city, a watchdog reported.

"This is the first provincial capital in Syria where rebels have made such progress. They now have near-total control of Raqa city, except for some regime positions, including the military security and Baath party headquarters," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

According to the Observatory, Al-Nusra Front jihadists fought alongside other rebel groups in the battle for the northern city, strategically located on the Euphrates river near the Turkish border.

In Raqa, residents destroyed a statue of Assad’s father and predecessor Hafez, according to amateur video footage distributed by activists.

The Observatory reported that a police chief was killed and two senior security officials captured by the rebels.

"Rebels took the state security chief to Turkey," Abdel Rahman said, noting that the road linking Raqa to Turkey, including the border crossing at Tal al-Abyad, was under rebel control.

Raqa was once home to 240,000 residents, but some 800,000 people forced to flee violence in other parts of Syria have sought shelter there ever since the start of the conflict.

In recent weeks, rebel fighters cut off all the army’s supply routes leading to the city and escalated their attacks on checkpoints and other regime positions.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-03-04

COMMENT(S)