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MENAFN - Arab News - 07/02/2014

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(MENAFN -Arab News) BEIRUT: A coalition of Syrian rebels seized control on Thursday of most of Aleppo’s central prison, freeing hundreds of prisoners, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.More than 250 people have been killed in regime barrel bomb attacks on the city since Saturday.The Islamic Front and Al-Nusra Front announced an operation dubbed “Truthful Promise Approaches.”“All military fighters in bases must go to the front lines or they will be questioned and held accountable,” the groups said in a statement.It asked residents of “occupied areas” to stay away from government checkpoints and bases, saying they would be targeted.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that at least 257 people have been killed in barrel bomb attacks on eastern Aleppo since Saturday, including 11 on Thursday.The dead include at least 76 children, according to the Britain-based group.Hundreds more have been wounded in the raids using the controversial unguided munitions, which have been condemned by rights groups as indiscriminate.The heavy casualty toll has sparked a mass exodus from the worst hit neighborhoods in the east of the city.US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad was making gains on the ground, but denied US policy in Syria was failing.“It’s fair to say that Assad has improved his position a little bit, yes. But he’s still not winning. This is a stalemate,” Kerry told CNN television in an interview.He was adamant, however, that America’s policy had not failed in the war-torn country, despite a mounting death toll in the three-year conflict. “The policy in Syria is just very challenging and very difficult,” Kerry added.Meanwhile, the United Nations and Syria have reached a deal to allow civilians to leave areas of Homs under army siege for more than 18 months, the provincial governor said Thursday.“A deal has been secured with the United Nations, under which civilians will be guaranteed an exit from the Old City neighborhoods very soon,” state news agency SANA reported, citing governor Talal Barazi.


 






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