Syrian forces recapture town from rebels

2013-01-17 15:37:28 GMT2013-01-17 23:37:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The Syrian army on Thursday regained control of a central town in unrest-hit Hama province, said a military source, as activists reported killings of many people in several hotspots in the country.

The military source was quoted by the state-run SANA news agency as saying that the Zour Abi Hasan town in central Hama province has been secured by the troops after fights with armed groups, most of whom were killed or injured.

The source called on the locals to return to their homes after the army destroyed all of the armed groups' hideouts.

Meanwhile, the activists' network, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said gunmen earlier Thursday assassinated Walid al-Aboud, a retired air force colonel, adding that Aboud, the brother of Parliamentarian Khaled Aboud, was shot near a post office at the Damascus' suburb of Qatana.

Activists also alleged that forces loyal to the Syrian administration committed last Tuesday a massacre in al-Haswiyeh, a small farming village in central Syria. However, activists gave divergent accounts of the casualties, including families with women and children, ranging from 37 to 106.

Activists also said that a Syrian troops' airstrike has killed at least 10 people in Husainieh camp for Palestinian refugees, some 20 km south of the capital Damascus. The pro-opposition accounts were impossible to be checked independently.

The armed rebels have recently penetrated the refugee camps, which has remained calm during Syria's long-lasting conflict.

The government accuses members of al-Qaida-affiliated "Nusra Front" of carrying on blasts and attacks, urging the UN to condemn the terrorism in Syria.

Syrian refugees to exceed million in six months: UN spokesperson


The number of Syrian refugees in the region may exceed one million in the coming six months and nearly 300,000 in Lebanon alone, a UN spokesperson said Thursday.

Dana Suleiman, spokesperson of the UN Higher Refugees Council in Lebanon, said in a statement that "the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached the mark of 206,000," pointing out that on a weekly basis there are 5,000 to 6,000 Syrian refugees coming to Lebanon.

"The sum of 267 million U.S. dollars has been allocated to address the needs of the Syrian refugees for the next six months," she said, asserting that the estimates of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) do not include "the Palestinians who have fled Syria."

"Our objective is not to give an accurate number of the refugees in Lebanon rather to help them by providing them with their necessary needs," said Suleiman.

She also showed an "alternative plan" the agency has prepared and is updating regularly with the rise of the number of Syrian refugees, including "erecting temporary camps in various Lebanese regions."

On Wednesday, Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abou Faour said that the government "refused in the past the idea of erecting camps but it is addressing this matter seriously following the high influx of Syrians to Lebanon."


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