World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian rebels took control of two major crossings on the border with Turkey and the main Abu Kamal post on the border with Iraq on Thursday, the first time opponents of President Bashar al-Assad have seized posts on the country's frontiers.
Hakim al-Zamili, head of the security and defence committee in the Iraqi parliament, told a local television station that rebels were in control of the Abu Kamal border crossing, on the Damascus-Baghdad highway and one of the most important trade routes in the Middle East.
A Syrian rebel fighter and a opposition spokesman said fighters seized control of the customs and immigration buildings on the Syrian side of the northern Turkish frontier gate of Bab al-Hawa and activists said the Jarablus crossing also fell into rebel hands.
Rebels have tried to seize Bab al-Hawa, a vital commercial crossing, for 10 days but managed to oust soldiers after heavy fighting on Thursday, the rebel said.
Footage that activists said was filmed at Bab al-Hawa showed rebels climbing onto the roofs of buildings at the crossing and tearing up a poster of Assad.
"The army withdrew," a rebel fighter who would only be identified as Abu Ali told Reuters on the Turkish side of the border, where he was being treated for wounds. "The crossing is under our control - they withdrew their armoured vehicles."
Ahmad Zaidan, spokesman for an opposition group called the Higher Council of the Revolution's Leadership, said rebels were already in charge of large areas around the border crossing.
The reported seizure of Bab al-Hawa, opposite the Turkish Cilvegozu gate in Hatay province, comes after the rebels said they were forced to withdraw earlier on Thursday after they attacked the gate, guarded by some 200 troops, but had to pull back when government helicopters were called in.
The raid was also meant to provide an opportunity for opposition sympathisers among the government soldiers to defect.
The rebels had planned for 80 soldiers to defect but only 14 managed to escape, Zaidan said. Most defections, he said, were pre-planned and sympathetic soldiers would know of an impending rebel attack.
The border crossing was closed after the attack and around 40 Syrian and Saudi trucks lined up on the Turkish side were unable to cross.
While cross-border trade and traffic has been greatly reduced as violence inside Syria has increased, border gates along the 910-km (560-mile) Turkey-Syria border have largely remained open and vehicles have been free to cross.
At Jarablus, 400 km (250 miles) northwest of Damascus, activists said military and intelligence personnel pulled out from the nearby border town of Ain al-Arab, inhabited by members of Syria's Kurdish minority.
In neighbouring Iraq, Zamili urged the Iraqi government to send extra troops to the border, al-Iraqiya television said.
Iraq said earlier this month it had reinforced security along its 680 km (420 miles) desert border with Syria, making it Iraq's most heavily guarded frontier.
A local police official at the Sinjar border crossing in northern Iraq said it was still under Syrian government army control: "We have heard no shooting, nothing has changed."
The border raids came as rebels clashed with troops loyal to Assad in Damascus and a day after a bomb attack on a security meeting in the Syrian capital killed three of the president's closest allies.
Turkey, which has called on Assad to step down, is giving sanctuary to opposition members and fighters on its soil and is providing shelter to more than 40,000 Syrian refugees fleeing violence at home.
Some Arab media had recently claimed that the bank had already been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and some of Libya's militant movements
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on Nov. 4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000 birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.
Filling Tirana's main street, they carried banners protesting against lack of jobs, tax rises and what would amount to a rise of electricity prices next year.
High-speed trains were halted, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage from the quake
Benhabyles said the migrants would be airlifted to the southern province of Tamanrasset before they are asked to cross the border back into Niger
Authorities in Tanzania have ordered the eviction of 40,000 Masai people so their ancestral home can be turned into a hunting ground for Dubai royals.
No new idea or remarkable proposal has come from the world powers’ group, the P5+1, yet during talks over Iran’s nuclear issue, says Iranian minister
Search for missing 4-month-old continues along river in North Sumatra province after parents lose lives
This is the first meeting is to be held between al-Subaihi and Corman since the appointment of the former as defense minister in the current Yemeni government.
Peshmerga spokesman Brigadier General Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that Turkish soldiers had started special forces training with peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq
Barhoum described the accusations leveled against the Qassam Brigades as "false", which – according to him – aim at defaming Hamas and its military wing.
Demonstrators also demanded the expulsion of armed militias from Sanaa, in reference to Shiite Houthi militants who have seized control of the capital in September.
The majority of the deaths, 785, were ISIL fighters according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bodies of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were discovered after the army launched a counter-offensive against the ISIL in a village on the eastern edge of Ramadi
His comments stepped up Moscow's war of words with the United States and the European Union in their worst diplomatic standoff since the Cold War ended.
Though murdered revolutionary folk hero Sankara's body was placed in an unmarked grave, it is believed to be buried in a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou's Dagnoen neighbourhood.