Rebels move base into Syria
Rebels have moved their command base from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria, they announced yesterday as regime troops and rebels battled for control of a corridor near the border.
"The Free Syrian Army command has moved into liberated areas of Syria following arrangements made with battalions and brigades to secure these zones," FSA chief Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad said in a video posted on the Internet.
The next step would be to "liberate" the capital Damascus, he added.
Nearly 80 percent of towns and villages on the Turkish border are outside government control, and President Bashar al-Assad's portraits have been removed from many public buildings, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The transfer will allow the command centre to be closer to the fighters," General Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of the military council grouping rebel chiefs, told AFP, but declining to say where the new command would be located.
Rebel-held areas of Aleppo came under regime artillery fire yesterday, with loud explosions heard across the northern city, an AFP correspondent reported.
At least 11 soldiers and five rebels were killed in clashes in the Orm and Kaf Jum areas of Aleppo province, near the Turkish border, the Observatory said.
It said the regime was determined to prevent rebels linking up between western Aleppo and the neighbouring province of Idlib as this would form an extensive insurgent-held region on the border with Turkey, which supports the rebels.
In Beirut, the Lebanese military said "a large number" of Syrian rebels attacked one of its posts near the border with the war-torn country on Friday night, without causing casualties.
The Syrian Observatory gave an initial toll of at least 31 people killed nationwide yesterday: 10 civilians, 12 soldiers and nine rebels. It reported a total of 142 people, including 88 civilians, killed on Friday.
Meanwhile, a top French official said France is still discussing with allies whether to try to set up a no-fly zone in Syria to help rebels under assault from regime forces.
"We are working, but not only us, a lot of countries are working on the issue of a no-fly zone, but for the moment it is clear that it's very difficult to set up for several reasons," he said during a visit to Washington.