Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Middle east

Islamists move to take up administration of east Syria

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-10

Islamist rebels including the Nusra Front, which seeks to establish Islamic law, have set up a religious council to administer social services in eastern Syria, a rights group said Sunday, as fresh fighting erupted in the central city of Homs.

Rebel groups including the jihadist Al-Nusra Front have set up a religious council to administer affairs in the east of Syria which is mostly under their control, a rights watchdog said on Sunday.

Fresh clashes in Homs, Raqqa

Syrian rebels launched a surprise attack Sunday on Baba Amr, a former rebel stronghold in the central city of Homs, a year after it was recaptured by the Syrian army in a bloody battle, a rights group said.

In the northwestern city of Raqqa, Syrian government bombs killed at least seven people on Saturday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, less than a week after rebel fighters seized most of the city. Raqqa was the first provincial capital in Syria to fall under rebel control.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

"God commanded the Islamic battalions to form a religious council in the east to administer the affairs of the people and fill a security gap," the groups said in a statement distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The council will include several offices charged with functions including justice, policing and emergency services, the statement said.

Video footage distributed by the Britain-based Observatory showed an Islamist convoy draped with black flags bearing Islamic inscriptions and driving in the Deir Ezzor area of the east.

The video shows rebels attaching a banner to a building in the town of Mayadeen, on which is written "Religious Committee of the Eastern Region."

Rebels in the eastern provinces of Deir Ezzor, Hassaka and Raqa have made significant military gains as they battle forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the country's oil-producing region.

The Al-Nusra Front, completely unknown before the rebellion in Syria that began two years ago, has been a rebel standard-bearer since mid-2012 when it became the spearhead of the insurgency ahead of the Free Syrian Army.

FSA fighters, composed mainly of army deserters, have told AFP that despite being fewer in number, the Al-Nusra jihadists have better logistic and economic backing and receive financing "from abroad."

The Front has gone for strategic targets in the east such as oil wells, and also recruits local fighters and pays them.

Al-Nusra makes no secret of its aims to see Syria become an Islamist state. Damascus accuses both Saudi Arabia and Qatar of financing Islamist groups battling the Assad regime.

(AFP)

 

 

Date created : 2013-03-10

  • SYRIA

    The rise of Syria’s ‘third army’, Jabhat al-Nusra

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrians march in support of Jabhat al-Nusra militants

    Read more

COMMENT(S)