First Published: 2013-11-13

Jihadists call for mass mobilisation to counter army advances in north Syria
Assad army advances on Islamist-held northern village of Tal Hassel, located about 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Aleppo.
Middle East Online

Islamists suffer string of setbacks

BEIRUT - The Syrian army advanced Wednesday on the Islamist-held northern village of Tal Hassel, a monitor said, as jihadist rebels in nearby Aleppo called for mass mobilisation to counter the offensive.

Fighting raged at Tal Hassel, located about 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Aleppo, the country's pre-war commercial hub, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Jihadist fighters in Aleppo have called for mass mobilisation to counter regime advances after the Islamists suffered a string of setbacks around the northern city.

In a statement posted online, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) called on "all brigades and Muslims to arms to face off against the enemy which is attacking Islamic territory".

"Those with a valid excuse not to fight must supply weapons and money," added the statement, which acknowledged "many losses in fighting for Base 80, Khanasser and Sfeira".

It said President Bashar al-Assad's forces, which it dubbed "the Alawite army", had taken "part of the road linking Khanasser, Tal-Aran and Sfeira because of the weakness of rebel groups".

The statement put this down to "many rebel units withdrawing from the combat zone".

Six Islamist rebel groups, among them Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and Liwa al-Tawhid, had on Monday issued a general call to arms in Aleppo "to face up to regime attacks".

A military source said on Monday the army had secured most of the area around Aleppo International Airport and could reopen the facility which fighting has kept closed for nearly a year.

This came after regime forces retook Base 80, a strategic facility charged with securing the airport just outside the country's second city.

Aleppo airport was closed at the start of the year amid security concerns as rebels launched a campaign to seize airfields in the area.

Advances by the army follow the fall of Sfeira southeast of Aleppo. It was recaptured by regime troops at the beginning of November, after months in rebel hands.

Both state media and the Observatory said on Monday the army had also secured Tal Aran town, one of the last areas under rebel control on the Sfeira-Aleppo road.

Amid the ongoing clashes, ISIL released a video of two jihadists in Aleppo holding up the head of a man they said was an Iraqi Shiite who had been fighting on the side of the regime.

The Observatory said the decapitated man was a rebel.

 

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign