'Syrian army defectors hit intel complex'

Activists say members of Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets at Air Force complex, gunfight ensued.

By REUTERS
November 16, 2011 05:45
1 minute read.
Protesters wave Free Syrian Army banner in Homs

Homs demonstration 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

AMMAN - Syrian army defectors attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus early on Wednesday, in the first reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar Assad, activists said.

Members of the Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets and machineguns at a large Air Force Intelligence complex situated on the northern edge of the capital on the Damascus-Aleppo highway at about 2:30 a.m. (0030 GMT).

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Bloody day prompts US, Turkey, Saudis to slam Assad
Syrian activists rip flag from Jordan embassy

A gunfight ensued and helicopters circled the area, the sources said.

"I heard several explosions, the sound of machinegun fire being exchanged," said a resident of the suburb of Harasta, who declined to be named.

There was no immediate report of casualties and the area where the fighting occurred remained inaccessible, the sources said.

Syria's ban on most foreign media makes it hard to verify events on the ground.


Together with Military Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence is in charge of preventing dissent within the army. The two divisions have been instrumental in a crackdown on the uprising against Assad, which the United Nations says has killed 3,500 people.

Syria's military is controlled by Assad's brother Maher and members of their minority Alawite sect, while the army is comprised mostly of Sunni Muslims, who also form the majority of Syria's population and have been defecting from the army in mounting numbers.

The pervasive security apparatus, dominated by Alawites, underpins the power structure. Security chiefs of an estimated eight major secret police organizations answer directly to President Assad.

An Arab official, who did not want to be named, said insurgent attacks on loyalist forces rose sharply in the last 10 days, although the army remains largely cohesive.

Syrian authorities blame "armed terrorist groups" for the unrest, and say they have killed 1,100 army and police.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

US journalist Robin Wright (L) speaks while seated with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
December 18, 2018
Qatar’s Doha Forum gives Iran a platform in post-ISIS Middle East

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN