Syrian fighters capture Aleppo infantry base in latest blow to the Assad regime


A faction of Syrian opposition forces captured a regime infantry base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, as forces battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad advanced on the country’s largest city.

The base was the second major army installation taken by Syrian fighters in the city in a week. Its fall is the latest blow to the regime.

A statement by the al-Tawheed Brigade said fighters “fully liberated” the military facility in Aleppo on Saturday. It was posted on al-Tawheed’s official website on Sunday.

The complex, known as Hanano Barracks, includes an army base, a recruiting center and a military school.

The Al-Tawheed Brigade is one of the largest opposition groups operating in Syria’s second city, which has been a major front in the civil war since July.

Last week more than 100 nations, including the United States, recognized the new Syrian opposition council as the legitimate representative of the country, a boost for the opposition forces that have been bombing regime targets in and around Damascus.

But, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday the opposition fighters cannot emerge victorious from the 21-month-long conflict.

Nasrallah, a staunch ally Assad, said: “The situation in Syria is getting more complicated (but) anyone who thinks the armed opposition can settle the situation on the ground is very very very mistaken.”

Syrian opposition forces accuse the militant group of sending fighters to Syria to help Assad, who is trying to crush a revolt against his rule. However, the Lebanese group denies these accusations.

Nasrallah added that the West and some allied Arab countries had lured al Qaeda-affiliated fighters into Syria to be killed.

"I warn al Qaeda: the Americans and the European countries and Arab and Islamic countries have set a trap for you in Syria, and opened for you a battlefield so you come from across the world ... to be killed and to kill each other..."

Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it erupted in March 2011.

Alarmed by the growing strength and influence of al Qaeda-inspired fighters in Syria, the United States has put the al-Nusra Front on its official blacklist of terrorist organizations, angering many Syrian rebel brigades.