Syria rebels attack intelligence base, kill 8: NGO
NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
Syrian pro-regime supporters dressed in military uniform stand in front of a mural of President Bashar al-Assad. AFP photoMutinous soldiers have attacked a Syrian air force intelligence base in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing eight people, a rights group said today.
And another two people were killed by random gunfire in the troubled central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received in Nicosia.
The Britain-based Observatory said "a group of deserters attacked an air force intelligence centre... killing eight people from the base." At least another 13 people were wounded in the three-hour gunbattle on Thursday between the rebels and intelligence agents at the base, located on a highway to the Mediterranean port city of Latakia.
On Nov. 16, fighters opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad raided an intelligence base outside Damascus, in one of the most daring attacks to have been claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
At a meeting earlier this week in Turkey, the Free Syrian Army met with the civilian opposition Syrian National Council, agreeing to coordinate their efforts to overthrow Assad's regime.
Farther south in flashpoint Homs province, one woman was killed early Friday by random gunfire, the Observatory said without specifying if the gunmen were rebels or government troops.
A man was also shot dead near a government checkpoint in the Homs town of Hawla, the rights group said adding at least 10 others were wounded in the "gunfire directed at the town." In nearby Tal Kalakh, meanwhile, dozens of people have been reported wounded in ongoing clashes between deserters and government forces, a day after a woman and her daughter were killed when their home was hit by bullets.
Tal-Kalakh residents have expressed fears that government troops were preparing to raid the town, according to the rights group.
Elsewhere in Idlib, protesters emerged from the main weekly Muslim prayers demanding the "fall of the regime and the establishment of a buffer zone to protect civilians," said the Observatory.
In an interview with AFP, Free Syrian Army chief Riyadh al-Asaad last week called on the international community to establish a no-fly zone, a buffer zone and conduct strikes on regime targets.
Turkey on Tuesday said it would not rule out the possibility that such a buffer zone may be set up on its border with Syria in the event of a mass exodus of refugees fleeing the unrest.
The United Nations said Thursday that more than 4,000 people have been killed in the Syrian regime's crackdown on democracy protests since mid-March.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said meanwhile that the violence in Syria is a civil war.
Pillay warned that as more defectors threatened to take up arms, there was an increasing threat of "a civil war and at the moment -- that is how I am characterising this." bur-ls/dv AFP