Syria: Army Defectors Attack Air Base Near Damascus (Video)

WATCH: Free Syrian Army Attacks Air Base In Harasta As Turkey Ramps Up International Pressure

Members of the Free Syrian Army have attacked a military base outside Damascus.

The rebel force, which is mostly made up of defectors from President Bashar al-Assad's government agencies, including the armed forces, is reported to have destroyed an Air Force intelligence building in Harasta, a suburb located less than 10km north east of the capital.

Reports remain unconfirmed due to restrictions on foreign journalists.

If verified, the raid – easily the most audacious anti-government attack since the unrest began - comes amid growing international pressure on the regime.

Elsewhere, AP reported that the French government had recalled its ambassador from Syria after a wave of attacks against diplomatic missions by loyalists continued.

On Saturday, thousands of pro-government demonstrators took to the street of the capital in a show of support for Assad, resulting in attacks on the embassies of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Following King Abdullah’s remarks to the BBC, the Jordanian embassy in Damascus was also attacked, although no casualties were reported.

There were also unconfirmed reports that the Qatari embassy was set alight.

On Tuesday, Turkey offered further condemnation of the repression, with Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan urging Syria to “turn back from the edge of the cliff”.

He also threatened to turn off Syria’s electricity supply (which runs through its northern neighbour) if Assad did not stop “feeding on blood”.

Turkey’s president gave an equally stark assessment. While announcing the suspension of Turkey’s joint oil exploration venture with Syria, Abdullah Gul said that Assad’s fraught state had “entered a dead end”.

The Arab League is expected to confirm Syria’s suspension on Wednesday afternoon. In response, Syrian officials are reportedly forcing government workers to take part in mass rallies across the country in a show of defiance.

On Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria’s membership. A day later, the EU agreed to extend sanctions on individuals responsible for the crackdown, while King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab leader to publically state that Syria’s president should “step down”.

According to the United Nations (UN), around 3,500 people have died in the violence since March.


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