Conflict & Justice

Syria: Rebels plan to target civilian airports


Syrian fighters hold their weapons at a checkpoint controlled by the Free Syrian Army in the northwestern province of Idlib, on April 15, 2012.

Syria's rebels have launched a series of offensives on major military sites in Aleppo, and say they plan to target civilian airports in the coming days to stem the influx of weapons from allies like Russia and China. 

Anti-Assad forces launched a series attacks in a mission dubbed "Northern Volcano," the Associated Press reported, demonstrating a higher level of co-ordination from the Brigade of Free Syrians. The fighters focused on an artillery training school, an air force intelligence compound, and a main army checkpoint, Mohammed Saeed, an activist based in Aleppo, told the AP. 

The government claimed it had beat back the air base attack, but the rebels said they had been victorious in seizing another air force building in Deir al-Zour, a city in the eastern part of the country, BBC News reported

There have also been reports by rebels of downed government helicopters and fighter jets in recent days, but those claims have yet to be independently verified. 

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The rebels also posted a warning on their Facebook page that they would begin targeting airports and flights they believe are aiding Syrian forces, Bloomberg Businessweek reported

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday that calls by the United Nations and other western nations for the halt of weapons deliveries were "naive," BBC News reported. 

"No matter your view of the Syrian regime, it is completely unrealistic in the current situation, when there is fighting in the cities, to say that the only way out is the unilateral capitulation of one of the opposing sides," Lavrov said.

At least 112 people were killed in fighting by Syrian forces on Friday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Over 23,000 people have died since the beginning of the uprising against dictator Bashar al-Assad last year, which has now become a full-fledged civil war. 

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