TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rebels within mile of the heart of Damascus

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 9:06 p.m.
 

BEIRUT — Syrian rebels brought their fight within a mile of the heart of Damascus on Friday, seizing army checkpoints and cutting a key highway with a row of burning tires as they pressed their campaign for the heavily guarded capital, considered the likely endgame in the nearly 2-year-old civil war.

The clashes raised fears that Damascus, a major cultural center and one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, could fall victim to a protracted battle that would bring the destruction seen in other major cities and trigger a mass refugee exodus into neighboring countries.

“Any attempt by the rebels to advance into central Damascus would mean the beginning of a very long fight,” said Syrian activist Rami Jarrah. “I imagine Aleppo would be a small example of what is likely to happen in Damascus.”

Aleppo, Syria's largest urban center and main commercial hub, has been convulsed by violence since the summer, when rebels started an offensive to take control of the city. Since then the fighting has been locked in a deadly stalemate, with the war-ravaged city carved up into government- and opposition-held strongholds.

The latest Damascus offensive, which began in the northeastern side of the city, did not appear to be coordinated with rebels on other sides of the capital, and it was unclear whether the opposition fighters would be able to hold their ground.

Previous attempts to advance on the capital have failed. The government controls movement in and out with a network of checkpoints, and rebels have failed so far to make significant inroads.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Nasal cells help paralyzed man make history by walking
  2. U.S. losing drug war in Afghanistan despite $7.6B eradication effort, inspector general reports
  3. NATO chases Russian aircraft
  4. ISIS claims it grabs U.S. military ware
  5. Rock of ages put on display in Israel
  6. Fatal attack on soldier in Quebec ‘terrorist act’
  7. Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
  8. French oil CEO killed when private jet collides with snowplow during takeoff in Moscow
  9. Olympic athlete Pistorius given 5-year prison sentence
  10. Fiercest fighting in days hits Syrian border town of Kobani
  11. South Korea: Two Koreas exchange gunfire along border
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.