DAMASCUS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Ferocious battles continued Tuesday between the government troops and armed rebels trying to take full control over the northeastern city of al-Raqqa, as the U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the vast majority of weapons sent by regional countries to the rebels are falling in the hands of the moderate rebels, not the radicals.
The Syrian army targeted the positions of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in al-Raqqa, state TV reported, adding that the armed militias have attacked public and private properties in the city.
Meanwhile, pro-government Sham FM radio said that large numbers of al-Raqqa residents fled to Deir al-Zour and other Syrian cities, adding that the governor of Deir al-Zour ordered all the competent parties in the city to receive the displaced people and provide them with all they need.
The pro-opposition Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Syrian air force carried out two air raids Tuesday that hit the state intelligence branch in the city after the rebels captured it.
It also said violent clashes took place between government forces and rebel fighters around the ammunition depots in the northern part of al-Raqqa on Tuesday, adding that it has received news that rebel fighters had taken control of the depots.
The observatory also claimed that the rebel fighters fired RPGs at the ruling Baath headquarters in the city.
In the meantime, U.S.'s Kerry said Tuesday in Qatar that the U. S. administration has become more confident that the weapons that are being sent to the rebels in Syria by regional countries, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are falling in the hands of the moderate rebels, not the radical members.
After holding discussions with Qatari officials on Tuesday, Kerry told reporters at a joint conference with Qatar's Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim that "there are greater guarantees now that the weapons are being transferred directly into the moderate Syrian opposition."
"We did discuss the question of the ability to try to guarantee that it is (weapons) going to the right people and the moderate Syrian Opposition Coalition, and I think it's really in the last months that that has developed as a capacity that we have greater confidence in," he said, adding that, however, "you can't guarantee that one weapon or another may not fall in that kind of a situation into the hands that you don't want it to."
Kerry's remarks came to deepen the conviction about the role of regional countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in fanning the flames of the conflict in Syria by rendering arms to the rebels, whose ranks have been overwhelmed with jihadist fighters, some of whom are foreigners.
Paradoxically, Washington has rejected to send arms to the rebels in Syria out of fear that they might fall in the "wrong hands," while it is OK for them to nod at the help that regional countries have been sending to the rebels over the past two years of crisis.
DAMASCUS, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The rebels backed by al-Qaida- linked Nusra Front unleashed a ferocious attack on Monday against Syria's northeastern city of al-Raqqa, at a time the United States and Saudi Arabia stressed their support to the armed opposition.
Syrian armed rebels attacked the city of al-Raqqa and took over some governmental establishments on Monday, the pro-government Sham FM radio said, adding that many Syrian soldiers were killed during "intense" clashes at the vicinity of the al-Muhafez Palace and some intelligence branches in the city. Full story