Syrian government closes in on city of Daraa

BEIRUT - The Syrian Army on Friday retook a strategic town on the doorstep of Daraa, a contested southern city that lies between Damascus and the Jordan border, according to activists and the Syrian state news agency.

See Full Article

The conquest of the town of Atman opens up several supply routes to Daraa, which is divided between government and opposition fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists inside the country, said government troops and allied militias advanced under cover of airstrikes and heavy artillery bombardment.

The state-run SANA agency also reported the victory, saying government forces in Atman scattered the "terrorists" - a term that President Bashar Assad's government uses to refer to all rebels.

Daraa was the scene of some of the first protests against Assad in 2011 and holds symbolic value in the narrative of the uprising that has since collapsed into a vicious civil war.

The government victory near Dara come as a second government offensive closed in on the northern city of Aleppo, touching off a mass internal exodus of residents fleeing toward the Turkish border for safety.

Assad's troops launched a major offensive against Aleppo, Syria's largest city, even as opposition and government representatives were in Geneva for United Nations-sponsored peace talks. Opposition activists reported more than 500 targets hit by Syrian and Russian planes in one of the most intensive air campaigns since Moscow's intervention began late last year. Activists said troops were getting nearer to their goal of completely encircling the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo and cutting it off from supply lines to Turkey.

The international aid group Mercy Corps said Thursday that intensified airstrikes and fighting around Aleppo had cut off the main humanitarian route into the Syrian city, and that tens of thousands of civilians were fleeing north toward the border with Turkey.

David Evans, Mercy Corps' regional program director for the Middle East, said in a statement Thursday that "it feels like a siege of Aleppo is about to begin."

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that some 10,000 Syrians who fled the Aleppo area were waiting at the Turkish border, seeking refuge.

Speaking at the international donors conference in London, Davutoglu said up to 70,000 others who had been sheltering in camps north of Aleppo were also moving toward the Turkish border.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Alta. mom's boyfriend charged in death of 16-month-old

    Canada News CTV News
    COLD LAKE, Alta. -- RCMP in east-central Alberta say they have arrested the boyfriend of a woman whose 16-month-old daughter died last summer. Veronica Poitras was brought to the hospital in Cold Lake by a family member on Aug. Source
  • Ontario Civil Liberties Association accuses Dalhousie of censorship over 'white fragility' investigation

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — A Canadian civil liberties group is accusing Dalhousie University of censoring the political expression of a student leader under investigation for her social media comments. In a letter to Dalhousie president Richard Florizone, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association says the university is using its disciplinary powers to suppress freedom of speech. Source
  • FBI: Florida man's ISIS-inspired attack foiled by fake bomb

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- A Florida man who described himself as a sympathizer of the Islamic State extremist group faces terrorism-related charges stemming from a purported plot to bomb a Miami-area shopping mall, according to court documents filed Monday. Source
  • Dalhousie University accuses of censoring political expression

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A Canadian civil liberties group is accusing Dalhousie University of censoring the political expression of a student leader under investigation for her social media comments. In a letter to Dalhousie president Richard Florizone, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association says the university is using its disciplinary powers to suppress freedom of speech. Source
  • Niqab will become bigger problem in years to come

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The niqab conversation in Canada isn’t going away anytime soon. Don’t think that whatever happens with Quebec’s Bill 62, whether it lives or dies, is going to neatly solve the issue and put it to bed for good. Source
  • Czech billionaire Babis, fresh off election win, sets out coalition demands

    World News CBC News
    Czech billionaire Andrej Babis, the runaway winner of last weekend's parliamentary election, said Monday he wanted to form a governing coalition with a stable partner, and a minority government was an unrealistic plan. Babis's search for government partners is running into trouble. Source
  • Some 600,000 refugees later, Ottawa digs in on dealing with Myanmar on Rohingya crisis

    World News CBC News
    As a growing number of Canadians demanded action on the Rohingya crisis — many calling for Ottawa to revoke the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi's honorary Canadian citizenship — Karen MacArthur was flying over Northern Rakhine state, ground zero for the Rohingya's plight. Source
  • Trudeau names ex-Ontario premier Bob Rae as special envoy to Myanmar

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Former Ontario premier Bob Rae has been named a special envoy to Myanmar. He will be advising Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the southeast Asian country. Nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since late August to escape persecution that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing. Source
  • Man hit with assault charges after severed fingers allegedly strike cop

    World News Toronto Sun
    An Oregon man faces an assault charge after allegedly hitting a cop with fingers that exploded off his hand. Cops say pieces of Portland resident Jason Schaefer's mangled left hand struck a federal agent. The Oregonian reported cops showed up to Schaefer's Northwest Portland home on Oct. Source
  • Russian journalist stabbed in neck by man who claimed to have 'telepathic contact' with her: Police

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — A well-known journalist for Russia’s top independent radio station was stabbed in the throat Monday by an unidentified attacker who burst into her studio — the latest in a string of attacks on journalists and opposition activists in Moscow. Source