Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Asia

Syrian defence minister 'tours seized Homs district'

photo_1375709772201-1-HD.jpg

Picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 5, 2013 shows Syrian general Fahd al-Freij (R), Defence minister and chief of the armed forces, talking to the media in the district of Khalidiyah in the central Syrian city of Homs. Freij visited army troops in Khaldiyeh, a district the army won back from rebel control in late July, state news agency SANA said on Monday. (SANA/AFP)

Syrian Defence Minister Fahd al-Freij visited army troops in Khaldiyeh, a Homs district the army won back from rebel control in late July, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

The general conducted "a tour of Khaldiyeh, where he visited the army units that had restored security and stability in the neighbourhood," SANA said.

The army's takeover of Khaldiyeh, in the central city of Homs, came after an intense month-long campaign of daily air and artillery shellings.

It was also the regime's second military success since June when it captured the rebel-held town of Qusayr in Homs province with help from Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah.

"Liberating Khaldiyeh is proof of great heroism," Freij told soldiers.

"Facing terrorists in the narrow streets of this district, to cleanse the buildings, is a great military exploit," the defence minister said.

"We are determined to chase down the criminals in order to save the country," he added.

The army's takeover of Khaldiyeh, in the central city of Homs, came after an intense month-long campaign of daily air and artillery shellings.

Like other districts under rebel control in Homs, Khaldiyeh had been under a suffocating army siege for more than a year.

"We will triumph over this terrorism that is supported by more than 80 countries, and whose goal is to implement the US-Zionist plan for the region," Freij said.

Freij's visit comes a day after President Bashar al-Assad said the country's crisis could only be solved by "striking terror with an iron fist".

The Assad regime has systematically blamed a foreign-backed "terrorist" plot for the violence in Syria.

It has also said the rebels are playing into the hands of the United States and Israel, arch-enemies of the "resistance axis" formed by Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Homs city has been dubbed by rebels the "capital of the revolution".

More than 100,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Syria's 28-month war, the UN says. Millions more have been forced by violence to flee their homes.