Syrian rebels take aim at government bases

Oct. 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Syrian rebels are taking aim at the country's military bases in an effort to prevent the government from hitting them from the air, observers say.

The Daily Telegraph reported rebels had attacked four bases near Aleppo. They included an air base, an air intelligence base and two artillery bases. The effort against bases in the northern part of the country began Sunday in spite of a cease-fire, the British newspaper said.

State television reported an air force general was assassinated Monday in Damascus, the BBC reported. A statement from the rebels confirmed the killing and said a soldier specializing in intelligence, Sgt. Ahmed Abdul Haq, was also killed, the Telegraph said.

"In the context of operations against the criminal regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the Rukn al-Din Martyrs Battalion assassinated on Monday air force Gen. Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi," the rebels said.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said 101 people, including eight children, were killed Tuesday. The day was the first after the cease-fire for the four-day Eid holiday.

The continued carnage led Qatar's prime minister to blast the Syrian government for waging what he called a "war of extermination" against its own people, CNN said.

The Qatar News Agency said Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al-Than told the al-Jazeera Arabic network Tuesday unnamed foreign governments were giving Assad a free hand to carry out a ruthless campaign against the rebellion.

"What is happening in Syria is not a civil war but genocide, a war of extermination with a license to kill by the Syrian government and the international community," said Hamad, who also acts as foreign minister.

"Everyone knows what the solution is and what the Syrian people want," Hamad added. "Everything that is happening now is a waste of time and just buying time to kill the Syrian people and to destroy the Syrian infrastructure."

Hamad said he sensed a growing sense of urgency among Arab nations to intervene in Syria despite maneuvering on Assad's behalf in the United Nations by allies China and Russia. He also said he did not count on the United States to take any action until after the November presidential election.

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