DAMASCUS / ANKARA
A man walks near a missile at the Syrian Army’s 150th regiment after its main base fell into the hands of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Rif Damascus. REUTERS photo
The Syrian army, which has been battling rebel forces in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, has abandoned bases as it loses control of more territory across the country.
Pictures made public yesterday showed that the army’s 150th regiment had fallen into the hands of the Free Syrian Army in Rif, Damascus, as they confiscated missiles used by the regime. Rebels also re-launched their assault on the Wadi Deif military base in Idlib as part of a critical battle for the major army base and fuel storage and distribution point.
In the northern province of Raqqa, army shelling killed about 20 people, at least eight of them children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported new clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk in southern Damascus, the scene of fierce fighting last week. The death toll in the civil war has topped 45,000, amid spiraling violence. “We have documented the deaths of 45,048 people,” Director of the Observatory Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse, adding that more than 1,000 people were killed in the past week alone. Military police chief in Turkey
Meanwhile, Syria’s military police chief has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, accusing the army of having turned into “murderous gangs,” in a video posted online. “I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of the Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army to join the people’s revolution,” the military-clad officer said.
“The army has deviated from its essential mission, which is to protect the country, and it has morphed into murderous, destructive gangs,” Shallal claimed. Al-Shallal arrived yesterday morning in Reyhanlı district of Hatay, Turkey with his family, according to Doğan News Agency. In Turkey, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency announced yesterday that the number of Syrians has reached 147,107.