DAMASCUS, Jan.12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian army on Saturday wrested back control over several areas in the northern province of Aleppo and repulsed rebels' attack on a military airport at the outskirts of Aleppo, a day after the radical militants took full control over the military airport of Taftanas in Idlib province.
The army controlled the Ummayad Mosque area, Khan al-Wazir, the surrounding of the old citadel and the city's courthouse, the pro- government Sham FM radio said, quoting a military source as saying that government troops at dawn Saturday repelled armed groups' attack against the Kshaish airport in the outskirts of Aleppo, leaving many of the assailants killed or injured and destroying their anti-aircraft artillery.
The radio report also said that clashes between the army and the rebels took place at several districts in the central province of Homs, adding that many rebels were killed in addition to one soldier.
In the capital Damascus, local reports said the army is still haunting down armed rebels in the Muadamieh suburb west of Damascus, adding that the al-Nusra Front, an offshoot of al-Qaida, is still positioning in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees and keeping the displaced people from returning home.
The reports said that eight people were killed in Yarmouk over the past hours by snipers' fire.
Meanwhile, local media said the helicopters, which the rebels claimed to have captured in the Taftanas airbase in the northern province of Idlib, are "inoperable" and "out of service" since long time ago.
After weeks of intense fighting, radical militants from al- Nusra Front took full control of the sprawling airbase on Friday morning, making it most significant gain they have gained since the eruption of the crisis a year and a half ago.
The Sham FM report said all the functioning war jets were evicted from the air field before the armed groups' attack, adding that three officers were killed during the fight.
It said the army on Friday rained down the airport with all kinds of shelling, inflicting hefty toll among the militia at the airport.
On the opposition side, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) said the Syrian troops' shelling renewed on the southern suburbs of Damascus, mainly on Sbaineh, Hajar al-Aswad and Mathnieh.
The LCC reported violence and clashes elsewhere in the unrest- torn country, placing the initial death toll of Saturday's violence at 55.
According to the UN estimates, more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the unrest erupted in 2011. Also, the World Food Program (WFP) said that around 2.5 million people in Syria are in need of food assistance but only 1.5 million can receive supplies from the agency.
MOSCOW, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Russia appealed Saturday for a political transition process in Syria, a day after UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held tripartite talks in Geneva on ending the nearly two-year-old crisis.
"It is necessary to secure the launch of a political transition process in Syria aimed at enshrining in law guaranteed and equal rights of all ethnic-confessional groups of this country," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Full story