Aleppo fight a journey into unknown for rural rebels
The young rebel fighters' mission was clear: to rid an Aleppo neighborhood of Syrian army snipers who had infiltrated rebel lines on Saturday.
But before they had reached their target, a skirmish with government troops forced them to make a diversion, throwing the group into confusion. All 40 were from rural areas outside Aleppo, and none could find their way through the city streets.
"Wait, are we in the right place?" one rebel asked. "Weren't we supposed to turn at a mosque? Where's that mosque? Have we passed it?"
A few minutes passed as the men circled around, peeking behind buildings into alleyways to see if they recognized them, unsure where to go next.
"I guess we're coming back as martyrs today," one fighter joked darkly to his friend, who chuckled nervously in front of a Reuters reporter and photographer accompanying the fighters.
International jihadists, including several Britons, have joined the fight in Syria, says photographer
A British photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week said on Sunday that his captors were international jihadists who included several Britons.
Freelance photographer John Cantile and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped in northern Syria on July 19 and freed a week later.
Writing in the Sunday Times newspaper, Cantile said he was held in a camp by some 30 Islamist fighters from Britain, Pakistan and Russia's volatile republic of Chechnya.
He added that he and Oerlemans escaped with help from members of the Free Syrian Army, one of the groups fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
Both Cantile and Oerlemans were wounded when their captors fired shots after the fleeing men.
"I ended up running for my life, barefoot and handcuffed, while British jihadists, young men with south London accents. shot to kill," he wrote.
"They were aiming their Kalashnikovs at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands.
Around 600 Palestinian families from Syria flee to Lebanon
"Some 600 Palestinian families have arrived in Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps in the past three days," said Marwan Abdel Aal of the Lebanese branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
"Most of these families came from Yarmuk camp," he added.
On Thursday, 21 people were killed in Yarmuk when regime forces shelled the area, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Most of the families have sought shelter in the Jalil and Taalabaya camps in the Bekaa region" of eastern Lebanon, Abdel Aal said.
about 6 hours ago
The leader of Syria's main political opposition group said he was ready to negotiate with government officials whose hands are not "stained with blood", once President Bashar al-Assad and his associates leave power, according to an interview published on Sunday.
Abdelbasset Seida, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), also told the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the resignation of Syria peace envoy Kofi Annan may open the door for a new initiative to resolve the crisis.
"As far as we are concerned, the authorities have lost their credibility and legitimacy, and we have said this in Moscow bluntly: that dialogue with this regime is no longer possible," Seida said.
Bashar and his gang must leave and after that we will move to negotiate with other officials whose hands were not stained with Syrian blood and who were not involved in big corruption cases," he added. [Source: Reuters]about 3 hours ago
Syrian rebels posted Sunday an online video of Iranians kidnapped in Damascus, charging they were elite Revolutionary Guards, and warning Tehran of further abductions over its support for Damascus.
Fighters of the Al-Baraa Brigade of the rebel Free Syrian Army have "captured 48 of the shabiha (militiamen) of Iran who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus," said a man dressed in FSA officer's uniform in the video posted on YouTube.
"During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers in the Revolutionary Guards," he said, showing documents taken from one of the men, who appeared in the background. [Source: AFP]about 3 hours ago
An aid convoy left the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday carrying food and medicine in a symbol of support for Palestinian refugees caught up in the crisis in Syria.
"Today the first convoy will leave from here, from the West Bank, from Palestinian soil towards Syria," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at a press event marking the event.
An official donations drive netted around $650,000 worth of food and medical aid from Palestinian companies, businessmen, and individuals during the charitable month of Ramadan.
[Source: Reuters]Knee-jerk response? Where the **** has he been the last 17 months?about 3 hours ago
Germany's defence minister again ruled out military intervention in Syria Sunday, warning it should not be considered a knee-jerk response to the failure of diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.
Thomas de Maiziere told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Kofi Annan's decision to quit as international peace envoy to Syria did not change Germany's stance on the sending of troops into the nearly 17-month conflict.
"The failure of diplomacy must not automatically bring about the onset of the military," he said in an interview with the paper.
https://twitter.com/sharifkouddousHey all, I am totally ok. No worries. Thanks 4 checking on me. Communications very difficult. Will tweet as much as possible.
Syria: Check here our pics of Syrian refugee kids in Turkey city of Kilis bordering Syria. http://akhbar.alaan.tv/video/world-n...urkish-Kielce/
FSA here in Syria tells me Iranians caught in Damascus are from revolutionary guards. Iran denies, says they are pilgrims.
FSA here in Northern Aleppo tells me they also have Iranians & Russian prisoners. I can't confirm cz I didn't see in my own eyes.
FSA seems to have adapted in area where I am to Ramadan rhythm. They take it easy during day, plan attacks for the night.
Back from a week-long trip in Syria. Photos and articles to come.
Shelling in Zabadani, Syria pic.twitter.com/TZcXaRfQ
Car hit with artillery shell Wednesday morning in Zabadani, killing two, including 5 year old boy pic.twitter.com/KTWKkdVb
Iftar in Zabadani with defector to Free Syrian Army and family pic.twitter.com/i2HII4d5
Zabadani youth (ages 18, 21, 16) act as guides/smugglers across rugged mountain trail between Syria and Lebanon pic.twitter.com/2P1chYjM
https://twitter.com/AlexanderPageSYSyrian Kurd refugees in N.Iraq say they want an autonomous region in Syria similar to the KRG in Iraq
8:01 AM 4 Aug
many syrian kurd refugees believe Assad will fall but not so soon.
10:44 AM 4 Aug
Many syrian kurds who were serving in Assad's army are deserting. they dont want to fight for a gvt that never did much for Kurds