FSA says military airport targeted in Aleppo; bomb hits funeral of Assad-supporters


The Free Syrian Army on Wednesday said it has surrounded Tiftinaz military airport in the northern city of Aleppo and claimed the capture of a missile-warehouse in Damascus, Al Arabiya TV reported.

FSA on Wednesday said it targeted sites surrounding the military airport and added that the airport is considered to be one of the largest bases for military helicopters, the Sham News Network reported them as saying.

Later, Sham News Network said that FSA targeted Abu al-Thuhour military airport and Nairib military camp in Aleppo as well.

At least 62 people have been killed across Syria by regime forces so far on Wednesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reports.

The opposition group, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, reported that the rebels have destroyed 10 of the Syrian regime’s choppers.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported of clashes taking place in Tiftinaz which is located between Aleppo and Idlib.

Explosions could be heard from the airport, a base for fighter planes and helicopters running sorties over the rebel strongholds of Aleppo and Idlib, the Observatory for Human Rights added.

Tiftinaz has been the target of several attacks by insurgents entrenched in these two cities, which have suffered daily shelling by government troops.

Syrian regime’s missile-warehouse

Meanwhile, the rebel army broadcasted a video on YouTube, also shown on Al Arabiya on Wednesday claiming it to be a missile-warehouse belonging to the Syrian regime. It said it has seized 10 missiles it found in the captured warehouse located in the Ghuta area in eastern Damascus, home to some of the fiercest and best organized rebel groups.

“God is great! Ten missiles! Oh God!” said an unidentified cameraman filming missiles seized by rebel groups.

The amateur video posted on YouTube showed a tank burning in a field, as well as several armed men.

It also showed a warehouse storing missiles which the rebels apparently seized from the hands of the army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

On Monday, activists said that the Syrian regime’s forces have opened up a new front against the rebel army in and around Damascus to target key eastern areas.

The rebels, meanwhile, were trying to shift the battle against Assad’s forces back into Damascus while regime’s forces attempt to target the Ghuta area.

Activists say are operating under the name of the Gathering of Ansar al-Islam (partisans of Islam) Battalions from Ghuta area.

“The operation was staged by the Gathering of Ansar al-Islam, which works closely with the Military Council,” according to Ahmed al-Khatib, spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army’s Military Council for Damascus and its province.

“It is one of the largest (rebel) groups in the province, though it operates in other areas of the country too,” Khatib told AFP via Skype, who added that it comprised “several experts in missiles.”

Car bomb kills 27 of Assad supporters

In a related story, a car bomb that targeted a funeral killed 27 people Tuesday in the mainly Druze and Christian suburb of Jaramana on the southeastern outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, a watchdog said.

“The number of people killed in a funeral held for two supporters of (President Bashar al-Assad's) regime has risen to 27,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Hours earlier, state television had put the toll at 12, adding that another 48 were injured.

“At around 3 pm (1200 GMT), a funeral procession was making its way to the cemetery, when a car parked on the side of the road exploded, killing and injuring many people,” an army official told AFP.

The funeral was held for two supporters of Assad who were killed in a bomb attack on Monday, the Britain-based Observatory said.

The force of the blast completely destroyed the facade of one building, while others suffered heavy damage, an AFP photographer reported.

State media blamed rebel fighters for the bombing, which came amid an intensified bombardment by government troops of eastern districts of Damascus that shelter some of the FSA’s best organized battalions.

But the opposition Syrian National Council accused Assad’s regime of staging the bombing against its own supporters in a bid to divert attention from the killings of hundreds of people during an army assault last week on a largely Sunni Muslim suburb of the capital.

“The regime wants to cover up for its massacres,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said, alluding to the deaths in the town of Daraya that sparked an international outcry.

“It also wants to punish residents of Jaramana -- who are of mixed religious backgrounds -- for welcoming people who were displaced from nearby towns,” Sabra told AFP by telephone.

“The regime’s fingerprints are clear,” charged Sabra, himself a Christian. “The regime does not want anyone to welcome refugees from other cities. And it wants to turn the revolution... into a bloody civil war fought along sectarian lines.”

Some 80 percent of Syrians are Sunni Muslim, while around 10 percent belong to Assad’s Alawite community, five percent are Christian, three percent Druze and one percent Ismaili.

The opposition draws much of its support from the Sunni majority, who have borne the brunt of the government’s deadly crackdown.