9:42 AM - 19 Nov 12 · Details
Syria opposition bloc says to be based in Egypt
Nov 19, 2012 17:21 Moscow Time
Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib
A newly formed Syrian opposition bloc that received Arab and international backing last week is to be based in Egypt, its head Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib told the official MENA news agency on Monday.
"It has been decided that the Syrian National Coalition will have its headquarters in Egypt," Khatib was quoted as saying after talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr.
The main Islamist rebel groups in Aleppo province, including Al-Nusra Front and Liwa al-Tawhid, have rejected a newly-formed Syrian opposition bloc, saying they want an Islamic state, in a video posted on the Internet Monday.
"We, the fighting squads of Aleppo city and province, unanimously reject the conspiratorial project of the National Coalition and announce our consensus to establish an Islamic state" in Syria, the statement said.
The Syrian military command has reinforced army checkpoints and ratcheted up security around Damascus following reports about fresh opposition units moving towards the capital.
Fierce fighting is going on on the city’s southern outskirts and in the Palestinian refugee camp at Yarmouk. Local media report about dozens of militants killed on Sunday in the capital’s Daraya and Ilda suburbs with government planes and artillery pounding rebel positions.
Syrian rebels said they captured a large special forces base on a main road between the city of Aleppo and the Turkish border on Sunday.
No independent verification of the rebels' statement was immediately available.
At least 18 troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were taken prisoner, opposition campaigners said.
A statement by the Aleppo Media Centre said at least 15 tanks were seized and that officers were among loyalist forces captured.
Mohammad Abdallah, an opposition campaigner in the north, said artillery stationed in the base has been used to bomb towns and villages in rural Aleppo and the neighboring province of Idlib.
The base is situated 25 km west of Aleppo, Syria's commercial and industrial hub, about half-way between the city and the Turkish border.
Voice of Russia, AFP, TASS, Reuters