Syrian army intensifies offensive
DAMASCUS — Syrian troops stepped up an offensive against rebels in the north on Wednesday in response to explosions targeting security forces and a university campus that killed more than 100 people in two days.
Powerful suicide car bombs that killed about two dozen people in Idlib marked another escalation in the fight for control of northern Syria, a key battlefield in the country's civil war. The day before, blasts heavily damaged the main university in the commercial hub of Aleppo, killing 87 people and wounding scores of others.
The nearly simultaneous bombings in Idlib bore the trademarks of Islamic militants, the most organized rebel fighters trying to topple President Bashar Assad's government. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the 22-month conflict, according to the United Nations.
Assad's warplanes struck rebel targets in both northern cities, still reeling from the deadly explosions. The Syrian army vowed to crush the armed opposition to “cleanse the homeland of their dirt.”
The army said in a statement that its troops killed and wounded dozens of “terrorist mercenaries” in Aleppo in response to the attacks on the university where students were taking midyear exams. Assad's regime regularly refers to rebels as “terrorists.”
Government troops and rebels have been locked in a deadly stalemate in Aleppo and other areas in the north since last summer. Six months later, the rebels hold large parts of the city. Still, they have been unable to overcome the regime's far superior firepower.
With the two sides deadlocked on the northern front, rebels have increasingly targeted state security facilities and government institutions in other parts of the country, including in the capital, Damascus.
There were conflicting accounts of the rebel assaults on Idlib, southwest of Aleppo.
The state-run SANA news agency said two suicide car bombers attacked a pair of traffic circles, killing 22 people and wounding 30. It said security forces foiled two other suicide bombers planning to target security forces and civilians in the area.
A government official said three cars laden with explosives were detonated on a major highway and a traffic circle.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported three car bombings, but it said the attackers were targeting security vehicles near the local security headquarters and a checkpoint.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia won’t give up on Kiev, NATO general says
- Greek default drama plays out
- Smoking ban appears to be cause of 15-hour Australian prison riot
- Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 53
- Indonesia plane crash death toll 141 as search effort ends
- Cool wind provides relief as Pakistan heat wave’s death toll tops 830
- Gunman rampages through Tunisian seaside resort killing at least 37
- Indonesia’s military jockeys for political power
- Powder’s role in fire at Taiwan music festival investigated
- Egyptian president plans tougher legal system in speech at burial of prosecutor