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Syrian rebels hit military base

Syrian army defectors attacked a military intelligence base on Wednesday in one of the most daring raids in eight months of unrest as Arab ministers gathered in Rabat to ramp up the pressure on the regime.

world Updated: Nov 17, 2011 01:04 IST

Syrian army defectors attacked a military intelligence base on Wednesday in one of the most daring raids in eight months of unrest as Arab ministers gathered in Rabat to ramp up the pressure on the regime.

Arab foreign ministers, who were also to hold talks with their Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, were due to discuss the implementation of a raft of sanctions adopted against Bashar al-Assad's regime on Saturday, including its suspension from the Arab League.

The early morning raid on the air force intelligence base just outside Damascus was among the most spectacular carried out by the growing number of deserters from Assad's largely conscript armed forces who have refused orders to open fire on civilian protesters.

The unprecedented movement against Assad's 11-year rule has been spearheaded by peaceful demonstrators but in recent months the deserters have organised themselves into a Free Syrian Army which has inflicted growing losses on the regular armed forces.

"The Free Army struck with rockets and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) the headquarters of air force intelligence which is located at the entrance of Damascus," the Local Coordination Committees, an activist network, said in a statement.

There was no immediate word on any casualties.

Embassies attacked
The embassies of three of more Arab League members - Morocco, Qatar (again) and the United Arab Emirates - have been attacked in Damascus, according to Al-Arabiya.

There is an unconfirmed report that the Qatar embassy is on fire.

Syria has promised that there will be no more attacks on foreign embassies after a spate of incidents involving pro-regime supporters at missions of countries perceived as hostile to the Assad government, including Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to the Jordanian foreign ministry.