Syria crisis: Rebels capture key dam



Zeenews Bureau

Beirut: The rebel forces of Syria managed to capture the nation’s largest dam on Monday after days of intense clashes.

The capture can be seen as a setback as the rebels now have a control over water and electricity in most parts of Syria.

The rebels had already seized two other dams on the Euphrates River. But the latest conquest, the al-Furat dam in northeastern Raqqa province, was a major coup for the opposition.

It handed them control over water and electricity supplies for both government-held areas and large swathes of land the opposition has captured over the past 22 months of fighting.

Also in northern Syria, a car bomb exploded border crossing with Turkey in Idlib province. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said 10 people died and more than 40 were wounded and taken to hospitals. The official said it was "highly likely" that the blast was caused by a car bomb because of the large extent of the damage.

The official requested anonymity in line with government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to the media without prior authorization.

The rebels have had their biggest success in the civil war across Syria's north including Idlib, Raqqaand Aleppo provinces, all bordering Turkey.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, a Britain-based anti-regime activist, said rebels took control of al-Furat dam around midday after successfully pushing out a group of Assad loyalist from the control room. Most of the regime troops in the area had stopped fighting on Sunday following the fall of the nearby town of al-Thawra, Abdul-Rahman said.

The rebel assault on the dam was led by al-Qaida-linked militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been fighting alongside the rebels trying to oust Assad. Al-Nusra Front is considered the most effective fighting force on the anti-regime side.

The government did not confirm it has lost control of the dam.

With Agency Inputs