Syria rebels retreat after seizing area near capital

BEIRUT Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:03pm EST

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels seized parts of the town of Douma near the capital Damascus on Saturday and then withdrew to their hideouts, activists said.

Night-time gunbattles and explosions rocked Douma, 14 kilometres (9 miles) northwest of the capital, activists said. Douma has been a centre of protests in the 10-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighters retreated to their hideouts once they had pushed state forces outside of Douma.

"It seems they chose not to hold on to the territory, most likely because it could offer the regime an excuse to storm the area," Rami Abdelrahman told Reuters.

The fighting posed no direct threat to Damascus itself but may be seen as too close for comfort to the government, which has launched a heavy crackdown since unrest began in March.

One resident told Reuters the move marked the first time rebels, who call themselves the Free Syrian Army, held territory in Douma for an extended period of time.

"No one can get in or out of Douma right now. This is the first time the rebels do anything more than hit-and-run attacks. Tonight they started making barriers in the streets," an activist living in Douma told Reuters by Skype.

The fighting began on Saturday afternoon, after security forces killed four people when they fired on a funeral march for a slain protester. Ensuing clashes left dozens wounded, activists said.

Activists on Skype from Douma and the neighbouring town of Harasta said troops were gathered outside the rebellious suburb.

Another resident in Douma told Reuters she had not heard of the temporary takeover of the suburb but had heard a large explosion.

"One of the explosions was so loud it felt like the whole city shook," another activist told Reuters on Skype.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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Comments (6)
Miguel526 wrote:
These brave fighters have battled for 10 months alone, against all odds. The story indicates further how the vile coward, Obama, sits on his thumbs while heroes die, just like he did while Iran’s criminal totalitarian government murdered so many thousands of Iranian freedom fighters as Obama sat idly by. Obama essentially agrees with each of these totalitarian governments because at heart he is a totalitarian himself.

Assad is a Baathist Socialist and Iran’s Moslem totalitarians both inhabit warm spots inside Obama’s heart of darkness, lies and serial deceptions.

There is a reason that Chicago the most corrupt city in all of the US.

Jan 21, 2012 8:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tomloveswine wrote:
What is going on is the same as 50 years ago. It is Israel getting involved in the politics of other nations. Below is an extract from the Diary of Moshe Sharett the second prime minister of Israel. He saw correctly that Israel would live by the sword. The second part is of that which is not mentioned is Die by the Sword.
Moshe Sharett stated:
When Moshe Dayan and Ben-Gurion were debating the feasibility of interfering with Lebanon’s internal politics and destabilizing Syria. Moshe Sharett wrote in his dairy:
“I saw clearly how those who saved the state so heroically and courageously in the War of Independence would be capable of bringing a catastrophe upon it if they are given the chance in normal times.” (Iron Wall, p. 134)
Similarly, Sharett also wrote on the same subject:
“the lack of seriousness exhibited by the [military brass, including Ben-Gurion] . . . in its approach to the affairs of the neighboring countries and especially toward the most complicated problem of Lebanon’s internal and external situation was simply horrifying.” (Righteous Victims, p. 498)
When Israeli Foreign Ministry and Defense officials advised of initiating a [preventive] war against Egypt before it rebuilt its army, Moshe Sharett wrote in his diary on October 12th, 1955 :
“What is our vision on this earth—war to the end of all generations and life by the sword?” (Iron Wall, p. 140)

Live by the sword. Die by the sword!

Jan 22, 2012 9:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
whatever13 wrote:
Miguel526 – I wish the rebels the best of luck but we, the united states should not get involved. We have interfered in the world long enough and haven’t gotten anything out of it but more trouble and we should now step back. The constitution of the USA protects the rights of the people of America and not the world. We have no right nor need to interfere.

Jan 22, 2012 10:20am EST  --  Report as abuse
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