Syrian Army launches assault on key airport near Damascus
Beirut: Syrian armed forces launched a massive operation on Friday to secure a strategic military airport near Damascus ahead of possible US-led military strikes, a monitoring group said.
Troops bombarded rebel positions in Moadamiyet al-Sham, a town southwest of Damascus near Mazzeh airport, one of the country`s key air bases, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said: "The regime is trying to seize control of Moadamiyet al-Sham before a probable Western strike, because the town commands access to Mazzeh airport".
The base is guarded by the army`s elite Fourth Armoured Division -- a unit led by President Bashar al-Assad`s brother Maher -- which is responsible for security in and around Damascus.
The army has been unsuccessfully trying for months to take Moadamiyet al-Sham back from the rebels. Western leaders accuse the Assad regime of unleashing chemical attacks on August 21 east and southwest of Damascus, including in Moadamiyet al-Sham, that killed hundreds.
US President Barack Obama has been trying to secure international support for a punitive strike on regime targets and will seek congressional approval for such action next week.
The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons, blaming instead rebels trying to topple the regime of using the poisonous agents.
The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground for its reports, said at least four surface-to-surface missiles fired by regime forces struck Moadamiyet al-Sham today.
Rebels and troops also clashed in the area as Assad`s forces tried to rout the insurgents, it added.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- PM Narendra Modi's speech at Heart of Asia conference
- Like SAARC, should India boycott Pak in Heart of Asia conference?
- India-Afghanistan thrash Pakistan over terrorism issue in Heart of Asia conference
- Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest; being monitored
- Watch: PM Modi addresses rally in Moradabad, UP - Part II
- Rs 14,000 crore default case: Gujarat businessman detained, says money belongs to politicians, babus
- Fake or Real? 'Alien animal' caught on Karnataka-Kerala border
- Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa's condition continues to remain critical after suffering cardiac arrest