Syrian rebels have made significant gains across the country, piling further pressure onto Assad’s embattled regime.
Rebels Take Control of Palestinian Refugee Camp
Heavy fighting has been reported between rebels and Palestinian fighters from a pro-government militia for control of two Palestinian refugee camps on the southern outskirts of Damascus. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) has remained loyal to Assad’s regime throughout the conflict, although a number of its fighters have defected to join the rebels and its leader Ahmed Jibril left the camp two days ago. Rebel groups have been fighting the PFLP-GC for control of the Palestinian settlements to the south of Damascus, and on Monday announced that they had taken full control of Yarmouk – the largest refugee camp in Syria.
Many now fear that the camps will come under air and mortar attack from government forces. One Yarmouk resident told the AFP news agency that the camps mosques had broadcast an army ultimatum, giving the estimated 150,000 people inside until 12:00 (10:00 GMT) to leave their homes.
Other Rebel Gains
Rebel forces have also made gains outside of the capital Damascus. In the Hama province the Free Syrian Army has declared the town of Halfaya a ‘liberated area’, after taking control of army positions in the area.
Further South, near the town of Deraa, rebels claim to have captured a number of tanks after storming a base belonging to the army’s 34th brigade.