Rebels Warn: Damascus Airport a 'Legit Target'
Russia poised to 'brainstorm' with US, envoy
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2012 7:40 AM CST
In this Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 photo, Free Syrian Army fighters aim their weapons at the entrance of a building during heavy clashes with government forces in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras)

(Newser) – Syrian rebels have issued a warning to civilians and airlines: Damascus International Airport is now a "military zone" to be approached at locals' "own risk." "The airport is now full of armored vehicles and soldiers," says a spokesman for rebels, who call the spot a "legitimate target." They're hoping to barricade the hub in an effort to cut enemy supplies, fighters tell the AP.

  • As clashes expand around Damascus, some Bashar al-Assad opponents see an end to the conflict on the horizon; Hillary Clinton sees "the pressure against the regime. .. increasing." But other observers aren't so sure. "The big advances are only in the media," a human rights advocate tells Reuters. Still, he says, "the regime is being exhausted."

  • Russia, which has defended Assad in the UN Security Council, is looking to work with the US to seek peace, CNN reports. The countries plan a "brainstorming meeting" with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
  • As reports emerge of regime plans to use chemical weapons, President Obama's stance on US involvement appears to have altered, the New York Times notes. "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said in August. Now, however, he and Clinton have stopped mentioning "moving" in their warnings. Now, the administration is pointing to "consequences" if the weapons are used.

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Dec 7, 2012 11:44 AM CST
The Armed Forces Continue Targeting Jabhat al-Nusra Terrorists, Destroying Their Gatherings and Cars A unit of the Armed Forces on Friday killed a number of terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra which is linked to al-Qaeda in the town of al-Dhyiabiyeh in Damascus Countryside. An official source told SANA reporter that the army members targeted cars and motorcycles, killing all the terrorists onboard and destroying their weapons and ammunition near Reitaj Palace in the town. Another unit of the Armed Forces eliminated a Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group in the Husseiniyeh town. Non-Syrian Terrorists from Chechnya, Killed in al-Husseiniyeh, Damascus Countryside SANA reporter cited an official source as saying that a number of most dangerous terrorists were killed in the area, including non-Syrians, two of them are from Chechnya. Terrorists Abu Steif al-Homsi, leader of a terrorist group, along with Abdo Mohammad al-Qayssoumi, Adel Lejjeh, Firaj al-Badawi and Abu al-Baraa were identified among the killed. A mortar and a car transporting terrorists and weapons were destroyed in the operation. The reporter also mentioned that an army unit repelled an armed terrorist group that attacked a law enforcement forces checkpoint on al-Husseiniyeh road, killing some of its members and injuring others. Car Bomb and Six Explosive Devices Dismantled in Hama A unit of the Armed Forces clashed with an armed terrorist group that attacked a law enforcement forces checkpoint near Souha town in the countryside of al-Salamiyeh in Hama. SANA reporter cited a source in the province as saying that a number of terrorists were killed and others were injured in the clashes, while the rest managed to flee away. Terrorist Iyad Hassan Raslan was identified among the killed. Military engineering units dismantled a car bomb in the same town. Military engineering units also dismantled 6 explosive devices planted by terrorists in areas in the city and countryside of Hama. SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that two explosive devices were dismantled at al-Harsh roundabout in al-Sabouniyeh neighborhood in the city. They weighed 15 and 25 kg. A third 20 kg explosive device was dismantled near Abdul-Rahman bin Ouf Mosque in al-Qusour neighborhood, according to the source. SANA reporter also mentioned that three other explosive devices were dismantled at the entrance of Mourk city on Hama-Aleppo road. They varied between 25 and 50 kg. Terrorist Gatherings Targeted in Homs The Armed Forces last night targeted gatherings for terrorists near al-Fath Mosque and to the east of al-Amal Hospital in Jouret al-Shaiyah neighborhood in the city of Homs. SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that the operation resulted destroying the gatherings and leaving a large number of terrorists dead, while others were injured. Russia's NATO Representative: Patriot Missile Deployment Indicates NATO Involvement in Crisis in Syria Russia's Permanent Representative to the NATO, Alexander Grushko, said the deployment of Patriot missiles at the Turkish-Syrian border is an indicator of the NATO involvement in the Syrian internal affair. "This is the first step that indicates that the NATO is getting involved in the crisis in Syria," said Grushko in a statement, adding that Russia does not rule out that this involvement might increase as a result of a certain accident or provocation. "It's difficult to assume that Syria has an interest in aggravating the tension in that region on the border with Turkey," the Russian Representative pointed out. He stressed that what is important today is not a demonstration of military muscles and preparations but intensifying efforts to launch a political process based on the Geneva Declaration to solve the crisis in Syria.
Dec 7, 2012 8:40 AM CST
The so called Free Syrian Army is nothing more that Al Queda and other Extreme Muslim groups....the country will only go from bad to worse....we do not need to support them at all !
Dec 7, 2012 8:39 AM CST
Yeah this no backbone Anti-American presidents conseqences is more verbal threats. Woooooooooo. Funny how he was all outspoken to rid Mubarek from Eqypt as Mubarek was semi US friendly but now all of a sudden is quiet when an Anti-American Muslim Brotherhood piece of crap takes over and starts a dictatorship. Most people would think that strange but not our Pravda media!!