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MIDEAST > Tel Rifaat residents hail rebels for control of town

Tel Rifaat, SYRIA

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Residents praise the Free Syrian Army for exerting control over the northern Syria town of Tel Rifaat.

Residents praise the Free Syrian Army for exerting control over the northern Syria town of Tel Rifaat.

İpek Yezdani İpek Yezdani ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr

Residents of Tel Rifaat near Aleppo have hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for exerting control over the northern Syrian town and permitting the import of flour from Turkey so that inhabitants can again eat bread.

“We can’t get anything from Aleppo because of the siege, so we did not have even bread to eat, but for the last week, [opposition] rebels have been bringing flour by lorries from Turkey so that we can make bread,” Nasir Nasir, a 50-year-old driver from Tel Rifaat, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 4.

Daily market is open again
The town fell to the rebels around 10 days ago following seven months of fighting between rebels and government forces. Rebel forces accused government forces at the nearby Menakh Airbase of using artillery and rocket launchers to bombard the town for more than six months.

The town was occupied by the FSA, particularly after many government soldiers were redeployed to Aleppo, 35 kilometers away, to continue the fight against rebels threatening to take over Syria’s largest city.

Tel Rifaat’s daily market has started up again, and bread can be found in the market easily once again – albeit at a more expensive price given the general shortages of foodstuffs, according to Nasir.
With the Free Syrian Army now controlling the town, many young men expressed admiration for them. “Every young man wants to join the free army now; I also want to join them,” said 24-year-old Ahmed Abdulkadir.

Tel Rifaat’s police station has been converted into a center for defected soldiers to stay, while the facility’s official documents, files and goods were all loaded onto a lorry and taken away.

August/07/2012

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