Syria slams ‘hostile’ France as violence rages

Syrian rebels claimed they captured a large special forces base on a main road between the city of Aleppo and the Turkish border yesterday.

Unverified video footage showed rebels inside the 18sq km facility in Orum al-Sughra among tanks and artillery they had seized. At least 18 troops loyal to president Bashar al-Assad were taken prisoner, opposition campaigners said.

A statement by the Aleppo Media Centre said at least 15 tanks were seized and officers were among loyalist forces captured.

Mohammad Abdallah, an opposition campaigner in the north, said artillery stationed in the base has been used to bomb towns and villages in rural Aleppo and the neighbouring province of Idlib.

Meanwhile, Syria’s regime slammed as “hostile” a French decision to host an opposition ambassador.

France invited the National Coalition — the newly formed Syrian opposition bloc — to send an envoy to Paris, after president François Hollande met its leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

“France is acting like a hostile nation,” national reconciliation minister Ali Haidar said in Tehran. “It’s as if it wants to go back to the time of the occupation,” he added, of the French mandate in Syria after the First World War.

Haidar spoke as Iran prepared to host talks between Syrian officials and opposition groups tolerated by Assad’s regime.

The National Coalition was not invited.

“Invitations were extended to all those who accept dialogue, not to those who refuse to talk as a matter of principle,” Haidar said.

Opening the talks, Ali Akbar, Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, warned against sending weapons to the rebels.

More in this Section

Boris Johnson: The next leader ‘cannot be me’

Publicist Max Clifford ‘gyrated’ in his office in front of 17-year-old girl, court told

Texas woman shot daughters ‘to make ex suffer’

3.6 million children in Iraq at risk, says Unicef


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Bashar Assad: Western nations quietly collaborating with Syria

Chechen extremist 'mastermind behind Istanbul airport attack'

‘I’m the candidate for change’, says Gove in pitch to be Tory leader and UK PM

This sheep showed how we all feel right now when she got her head stuck in a fence

Lifestyle

New book chronicles the changing of time for the Irish pub

Gloria Steinem hasn't let age slow her down and is as outspoken as ever

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years

10 great ideas to keep your kids occupied for the summer

More From The Irish Examiner