Syrian rebels seized control of all four of the country's border crossings with Iraq and two with Turkey yesterday as the military concentrated on the battle for Damascus. The rebels also claimed to have gained control of part of the capital, although government forces are fighting back fiercely and blasting residential areas with rockets, reports the New York Times. Thousands of Syrians have fled to Lebanon.
Rebels are believed to still be in control of one post at the Turkish border and at least two at the Iraqi frontier. The Iraqi government has closed the border and sent more troops to the area. Iraqi border forces witnessed the execution of Syrian Army troops at the hands of Free Syrian Army rebels, officials said. Thousands of Iraqis—who fled to Syria years ago to escape sectarian violence in their homeland—are now trying to return. Russia and China vetoed new sanctions on Syria yesterday, as Bashar al-Assad resurfaced for the first time since a bomb wiped out his top security chiefs.