Death toll in Syria rebel infighting rises to 68

Updated 15 May 2014
0

Death toll in Syria rebel infighting rises to 68

BEIRUT: The death toll from infighting between rival rebel groups in an eastern Syrian town has risen 68 killed, with some shot after being captured alive, activists said Friday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said battles raged Friday for a second day in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province near the Iraqi border. It said the fighting concentrated in the village of Haseen after members of the Al-Qaeda breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were forced out of the nearby town of Bukamal.
Rebels from the ISI and fighters of the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and other rebel groups have been fighting each other in the province for weeks over territory previously captured from President Bashar Assad’s forces, including oil fields.
The Observatory said 68 fighters died in fighting around Bukamal on Thursday. The ISI briefly captured the town, previously controlled by the Nusra Front, for several hours.
An activist from the Deir el-Zour who is currently in Turkey said that Nusra Front fighters and their allies brought reinforcements into Bukamal and forced out ISI gunmen after midnight Friday following hours of intense fighting that killed more than 50 people.
The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals against his relatives in the province, said the ISI took its rivals by surprise when its members stormed Bukamal at dawn Thursday and marched through the city.
The Observatory said of the 68 killed in the fighting, some were “executed” by members of the ISI.
An amateur video released by the Observatory showed several men, including some who were handcuffed, shot in the head in a square in Bukamal. The narrator said the men were killed by ISI members.


Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

Updated 19 June 2018
0

Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

  • The Sunday evening strike against the Al-Hari base on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq came less than 24 hours after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would strike Iran’s “proxies” anywhere in Syria
  • Syrian authorities and the Iraqi paramilitaries both blamed Washington for the strike, which killed at least 52 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

JERUSALEM: Israel declined to comment on Tuesday on a weekend air strike against an Iraqi paramilitary base in eastern Syria after its US ally implicated it in the attack.
The Sunday evening strike against the Al-Hari base on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq came less than 24 hours after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would strike Iran’s “proxies” anywhere in Syria.
Fighters of Iraq’s Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force, mainly composed of Iran-trained Shiite militia, have played a major role in the war against the Sunni extremists of the Daesh group in Syria as well as Iraq.
But their presence has sparked confrontations with both Washington, which has been supporting a Kurdish-led alliance that controls other parts of eastern Syria, and Israel, which fears Iranian-inspired attacks on its forces in the occupied Golan Heights.
Syrian authorities and the Iraqi paramilitaries both blamed Washington for the strike, which killed at least 52 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
But US officials denied any involvement and instead pointed the finger at Israel.
“We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike,” one US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli military declined to be drawn on the US claims. “We are not commenting on foreign reports,” a spokeswoman said.
The military has carried out previous strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, but most have been significantly closer to Israel or the Israeli-occupied Golan.
Last month, Israel launched a large-scale attack on what it said were Iranian targets in Syria, raising fears of a major confrontation.
Those strikes followed a barrage of rockets that Israel said was fired toward its forces in the occupied Golan by Iran from Syria.
Even before that, Israel had been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that killed Iranians, though it has not acknowledged them.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, Netanyahu reiterated his position that “Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria.”
“We will take action — and are already taking action — against efforts to establish a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria,” the prime minister said.
“We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”
Israeli seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Iran has been a close ally of the Syrian regime for some four decades and, with Russia, has been a key supporter in the civil war that broke out in 2011.