Skip to main content

Syria opposition considers unity amid reports of government airstrikes, rebel car bombs

From Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN
November 10, 2012 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Syria's leading opposition group is to decide whether to become part of a new rebel body
  • Two car bombs exploded at an officer's club, killing dozens, a rights group says
  • A government airstrike targeted a Damascus suburb, leveling two buildings, the opposition says

(CNN) -- Syria's leading opposition group will decide Saturday whether to go along with a proposal that it form a new, inclusive rebel body that could transition into a new government, a move widely seen as necessary in the effort to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

The decision by the exiled Syrian National Council comes as it is under pressure by the United States and Arab nations, primarily Qatar, to unite with various rebel factions.

The move comes as fighting between government and rebel forces escalate amid reports that al-Assad is losing his grip on the country that his family has ruled for more than four decades.

In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Syrian civil war in photos Syrian civil war in photos
Syria opposition groups look to unify
Syrian war spilling over into Turkey
On the run with rebels in Syria
Defiant Assad: I'm not a puppet

Under the proposal put forward, the council would become part of a new opposition group that would set up a de-facto government inside rebel-held areas of Syria.

Syria National Council picks new president

The opposition meeting in Doha, Qatar, came amid reports that two suicide car bombs targeted Syrian security forces in the flashpoint city of Daraa, the birthplace of the uprising that began in March 2011.

Dozens of soldiers were killed and wounded in the attack that saw two cars drive into a garden of an officer's club before detonating, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked group that tallies reported deaths and abuses on both sides of the conflict.

The attack followed opposition claims that government forces killed at least 61 people in fighting across Syria on Saturday. At least 29 of them were killed in Damascus and its suburbs, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Battles, meanwhile, raged for a second day between government forces and rebels in Ras Al Ain, near the Turkish border, according to the LCC.

The fighting in the border town has forced thousands of Syrians to flee across the border into Turkey.

Rebels gained control of key villages outside Ras Al Ain on Saturday, the LCC said.

In the Damascus suburb of Douma, where government forces and rebels have been engaged in a see-saw battle for control, the opposition accused al-Assad's forces of conducting airstrikes that leveled two buildings.

Al-Assad vows to 'live and die' in Syria

The Syrian Human Rights Network, al-Assad's answer to the LCC and the Syrian Observatory, accused the countries supporting the opposition conference in Qatar of sponsoring terrorism.

Al-Assad has refused to acknowledge the civil war, saying repeatedly his government is fighting foreign-backed "terrorists" bent on destabilizing the country.

The conflict in Syria has its roots it the success of popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, with Syrian demonstrators taking to the streets echoing the calls of Arab Spring protesters for political reform and political freedoms.

Al-Assad ordered a brutal crackdown against demonstrators, a move that spawned an armed uprising that has since devolved into a civil war.

More than 35,000 people are believed to have been killed in the fighting, and more than 400,000 people have been displaced, according to opposition and United Nations estimates.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Joe Sterling contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0120 GMT (0920 HKT)
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT