Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Rio mired in economic crisis a year after the Olympics

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

The controversial colonial statue in Senegal; and the centuries-old town in Turkey being destroyed by the govt

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era: Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'We aren't ready' for a second vote in Kenya and flip-flopping on climate change

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Another Hurricane? It's Maria's turn. And, when's your printer going to stop working?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo: New report says army worked with militias to massacre hundreds in Beni

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

All eyes on Trump and Macron at UN General Assembly

Read more

THE DEBATE

Trump goes to the UN: What role for the United States on the world stage?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

German elections: Top MEP 'concerned' as populists rise in polls

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)