(MENAFN - Arab News) Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades captured an oilfield in the country's east yesterday after three days of fierce fighting with government troops protecting the facility.
The head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said rebels overran Al-Ward oilfield in the province of Deir El-Zour near the border with Iraq early yesterday. About 40 soldiers were guarding the facility that the rebels had been pounding for the past three days, he said, adding that opposition fighters also captured several regime troops.
Warplanes pounded targets around Damascus and in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib yesterday as rebels downed a jet near Mayadin, the observatory said.
Meanwhile, leading Syrian dissident Riad Seif denied yesterday he planned to head a government in exile as the main opposition group began a meeting aimed at broadening its membership.
Current SNC chief Abdel Basset Sayda denounced what he called "efforts to bypass the SNC and numerous attempts to find substitutes" for the group. Washington is actively pressing for an opposition makeover at the four-day Doha meeting, with long-time dissident Seif reportedly touted as the potential head of a new government-in-exile. But he said: "I shall not be a candidate to lead a government in exile... I am 66 and have health problems."