Latest successes further shrink portion of country governed by Assad, though regime does not appear on brink of collapse
© AFP/Getty Images
Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, heading a cabinet meeting. His regime has suffered a series of blows over the past week.
Syrian rebels captured most of an eastern oil field and stormed a military base in the south, anti-regime activists said, further chipping away at President Bashar al-Assad's hold on the country's hinterlands.
Although Assad's regime does not appear on the brink of collapse, rebels have scored a string of strategic victories over the past week, also seizing a large dam and the defences around a major airport. These and other blows have shrunk the portion of the country that Assad governs and could deprive his regime of resources necessary for its survival.
On Thursday rebels took control of the town of Shadadah along the Euphrates river in eastern Syria and seized most of the nearby Jbeysa oil field, one of country's largest, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The conquests came after three days of battles.
Videos posted online in the last three days showed dozens of bearded rebels looting a large red building and making off with boots and green munitions boxes. The bodies of dead government soldiers lay nearby. "These are Assad's dogs," one fighter said.
Rebels also stormed a small military base near the town of al-Sahwa in the southern province of Daraa, near Jordan. The Observatory said that at least four fighters were killed in clashes at the base, which rebels had surrounded and shelled for days before launching their raids. Videos posted online showed rebels chanting in victory and what they said were tanks burned in the distance.