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Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Claim Another Victory Near Aleppo

See also Syria Video Feature: Planning For the Endgame? --- Scott Lucas on Al Jazeera English's "Inside Syria"
Syria Feature: A Requiem for Aleppo
Saturday's Syria Live Coverage: "The Only Terrorism is That of Assad"

2015 GMT: Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa has admitted in an interview that the regime will not be able to defeat the insurgency and restore its authority --- he said, "“The opposition forces combined cannot decide the battle militarily," but continued, "Meanwhile what the security forces and the army units are doing will not reach a conclusive end.”

A pessimistic al-Sharaa said, “With every passing day, the military and political solutions get further away. The way events are heading will lead to an uncomfortable place where things will definitely go from bad to worse.”

Al-Sharaa pointed to a "historical settlement...stopping all shapes of violence, and [with] the creation of a national unity government with wide powers":

The opposition with its different factions, civilian, armed, or ones with external ties, cannot claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian People, just as the current rule with its ideological army and its confrontation parties lead by the Baath, cannot achieve change without new partners.

2010 GMT: The Local Coordination Committees report that 169 people have been killed today, including 56 in Damascus and its suburbs, 42 in Aleppo Province, 31 in Hama Provice, and 19 in Daraa Province.

2005 GMT: Fighters inside the Yarmouk camp in south Damascus, where 25 people reportedly died from regime missiles and shelling today:

Insurgents seizing ammunition and weapons after taking over a building:

1605 GMT: The debate over what happened in the village of Aqrab near Hama last week --- how many people died? who was responsible? --- continues. The video report of British journalist Alex Thomson, which puts blame on the insurgents, has now been posted:

Hassan Hassan of The National lays out a range of accounts offering a complex, muddled picture in which responsibility is not clear.

1430 GMT: Graphic footage has been posted of bodies in the Abdel Qader Husseini Mosque in the Yarmouk refugee camp in south Damascus, allegedly hit by a regime missile amid almost two weeks of fighting in the area.

The Local Coordination Committees claim 101 people have been killed today, including 32 in Damascus and its suburbs --- 15 in the Yarmouk camp --- and 31 in Hama Province, with 25 of the deaths in Halfaya.

1100 GMT: Activists and Palestinian sources claim that Ahmed Jibril, veteran leader of a Damascus-based Palestinian faction that backs President Bashar al-Assad, has left the Yarmouk district of the capital after 12 days of fighting.

The sources said Jibril, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), departed the Yarmouk camp with his son for the Mediterranean city of Tartous, a stronghold of the regime.

Insurgents and the Palestinian brigade Liwa al-Asifah have been gaining ground in Yarmouk, home to thousands of Palestinian refugees. Activists claims there have been many "qualitative defections" from teh PFLP-GC

Syrian state television quoted a PFLP-GC source denying reports that the insurgents had taken over Yarmouk, but gave no further details.

0922 GMT: The Liwa al-Tawhid Brigade has announced the death of senior commander Colonel Yusef al-Jader, known as Abu Furat, in the battle to capture a regime military academy near Aleppo (see 0650 GMT).

Abu Furat oheaded a tank brigade in the Syrian army before defecting and becoming Liwa al-Tawhid's commander of military operations in Aleppo Province.

An activist posts a claimed interview with Abu Furat just before his death:

I am bothered because these tanks [that we destroyed] are our tanks. The ammo is our ammo. Those fighters are our brothers. I swear to God, every time I see a person that is killed, from our side or from their side, I get sad. Because if that bastard [Assad] had resigned, Syria would have been the best country in the world. But you clung to your throne you bastard, why? You started killing people when we were telling you we were peaceful, and you were saying it was all armed gangs. And us officers were sitting on our beds watching, when you were calling people terrorists. Honestly, we are not terrorists. You are the one who wants us to become terrorists.

0912 GMT: An hour-long video from Jabhat al Nusra, the Islamist insurgent group, has emerged on YouTube. The footage explains al-Nusra's rationale for war against the Assad regime, goes behind the scenes of its suicide bombings and attacks on military bases.

Syria Deeply offers a summary of passages of the video.

0801 GMT: Members of the opposition coalition have formed the Free National Gathering to prevent the collapse of state institutions if President Assad is overthrown.

Among those on the body are high-level defectors such as former Prime Minister Riyad Hijab."

"This [step] is to protect state institutions in the event of the fall of the regime and to prepare for this from now," said former Deputy Ninister of Oil Abdo Husameddin. "There will be contacts with officials to ensure state institutions are protected. We want to bring down the regime but we do not want the collapse of the state or its institutions and the workforce employed."

He said there were at least 1.5 million people employed in Syrian state bodies and enterprises.

0731 GMT: Brown Moses posts claimed video of the regime's increasing use of Grad rocket launchers. This clip is of one of the unexploded rockets and indicates it is carrying cluster bomblets:

0725 GMT: The Local Coordination Committees claim 131 people were killed on Saturday, including 36 in Damascus and its suburbs, 26 in Aleppo Province, 18 in Homs Province, and 17 in Idlib Province.

0650 GMT: Insurgents declared on Saturday that, after three weeks of siege and fighting, they had taken control of an army infantry school near Aleppo. 

An opposition activist said that tanks from the base --- covering just over 1 square mile and about 6 miles from Aleppo --- were used to shell nearby towns.

Fighting was also reported around the air force intelligence branch in the Zahraa district of Aleppo and around Mingh military airport on the outskirts of Syria's largest city.

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