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Syrian Update: Rebels Attack Airbase; Israel: Syrian Tanks in Golan Heights

By: AP
By: AP
In this picture taken on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, a citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting. (AP Photo/Idlib News Network ENN)

In this picture taken on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, a citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting. (AP Photo/Idlib News Network ENN)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Over the coming days, Syria's anti-regime camp will wrangle over reorganizing its ranks.
The United States is pushing a proposal to create a new leadership body with fewer Syrian exiles and more military commanders fighting on the ground to bring down President Bashar Assad.
But there are serious doubts whether the divided and ideologically diverse factions can come together into a structure the U.S. and its allies can work with.
Hundreds of Syrian opposition figures are taking part in a five-day conference starting Sunday in the Qatari capital Doha. It's seen as the most serious push yet to forge a united front to help end the 19-month conflict.
For the United States, it represents an opportunity to overhaul Syria's fragmented opposition leadership.
The key issue is whether the main political opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which consists largely of academics and Syrian exiles, will accept a U.S.-backed proposal to set up a new 50-member leadership team with more representatives from inside Syria.
But the SNC is not the only problem. Rebel fighters are still split into multiple, self-created brigades of military defectors and Syrian civilians.

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists say rebels and government troops are fighting for control of a key airbase in the country's north.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the rebels have launched a dawn offensive to take Taftanaz air base, a day before a crucial opposition conference in Qatar.
Taftanaz lies near the highway between the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, a major front in the civil war.
Activist videos posted online claim to show the attack on Taftanaz. A rebel vehicle fires rockets and smoke rises over buildings and what appears to be an airstrip. The videos appear genuine and are consistent with other Associated Press reporting in the area.
Activists say more than 36,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011..

BEIRUT (AP) -- Amnesty International and a Syrian group are charging that gunmen have executed captured men believed to include Syrian soldiers, calling it "shocking."
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the killings occurred near the northern town of Saraqeb.
An amateur video appears to show rebels executing captured Syrian soldiers. The rebels beat and kick the soldiers, some of whom were wounded, before shooting them dead.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed. The video is consistent with other AP reporting in the area.
On Friday the Observatory condemned the killing of nearly a dozen soldiers at the Hmeisho checkpoint. Amnesty released a highly critical statement.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, asked how rebels can demand rights at a time when they violate such rights.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's military says three Syrian tanks have entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights.
A military spokeswoman says Israel complained to the U.N. peacekeeping force in the area after the tanks entered Saturday.
The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military protocol, did not elaborate. The relatively low-key response suggested Israel did not see the armor as an immediate threat.
The Israeli news site Ynet said the tanks and two armored personnel carriers drove a few kilometers (miles) away from Israeli military positions.
There are concerns in Israel that violence from Syria's civil war could spill over a long-quiet frontier. Misfired Syrian shells have exploded inside Israel on several occasions. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it.


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