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Syrian war boils over onto U.S. allies; outside jihadists rush in
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned of the “dangerous repercussions” of the conflict on the region.
“There can certainly be permanent damage and lasting effect of the Syrian conflict in these other countries even after the conflict in Syria is resolved,” said Michele Dunne, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
Rebels continued to fight regime forces late Thursday.
In an apparent setback for the regime, activists said rebel fighters pushed into predominantly Christian and Kurdish neighborhoods in northern Aleppo that previously had been held by pro-Assad forces, the Associated Press reported.
“It was a surprise,” local activist Abu Raed said via Skype. “It was fast progress and in an unexpected direction.”
He asked to be identified only by his nickname for fear of reprisals.
The battle for Aleppo, a former regime stronghold and Syria’s business hub, has been largely deadlocked since rebels first captured parts of the city in late July.
A complete rebel takeover could change the momentum of the war, although in recent months, front lines have shifted repeatedly and it was not clear if rebel fighters could maintain Thursday’s gains, the AP reported.
Activists also reported fighting and shelling by government forces near the capital of Damascus, and scores of people were reported killed nationwide.
The civil war has created more than a quarter of a million refugees who have poured across Syria’s borders into Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Those refugees have heightened security concerns and, with the onset of winter, are straining precious resources.
“All of this is, unfortunately, very much to be expected and will get worse until the conflict inside Syria is resolved in some way,” she added.
International efforts to resolve the crisis have made little headway. Russia and China have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions that sought to find a solution to the conflict.
President Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has advocated a more robust leadership role for the U.S. in efforts to resolve the crisis. While Mr. Romney is opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria, he supports arming the rebels.
Some Arab states already are arming the rebels. The Obama administration has been reluctant to do so and has provided only nonlethal aid.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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