Beirut (AsiaNews) - Support for Syrian rebels, the growing international isolation of Damascus, preparation of a transition plan following the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. These, according to U.S. sources, are the objectives that led the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to travel to Turkey, where she arrived this morning (pictured), to meet with leading representatives of Ankara and also the leader of those who oppose the Syrian government.
Clinton's visit is to prepare for, in essence, what the Americans call
"the day after Assad", ie the steps to bring the current regime down,
and ensure a free, pluralistic and democratic future for Syria.
The U.S. reluctance to provide military aid to the insurgents, however, is explained by information, also revealed by a U.S. source, quoted by AP, of the presence of at least 200 al-Qaeda militants, on Syrian soil with the objective to establish bases along the terrorist organization's Iraq model.
In the meantime the battle continues on the ground: Aleppo is always at the center of fierce fighting. According to state news agency SANA, the army has repelled a rebel attack against the airport, while the insurgents say they are preparing a counteroffensive to retake the districts they were pushed back from. The Syrian National Council also reports clashes on the outskirts of Damascus.
And while Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of people seeking refuge from civil war, Amman also reports news of an exchange of gunfire between Jordanian and Syrian forces. The Damascus army reportedly opened fire near the border post of Tel Shihab-Turra, the Jordanians fired in response. (PD)