06/10/2015, 00.00
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Rebels take military base near Deraa

It is the latest in a series of defeats of the Syrian army. A Christian village in al-Rakham also taken. Ongoing dialogues among 150 representatives of the opposition in Cairo. A political settlement under UN auspices possible, but this excludes any future for the Assad regime. The death toll in four years of war.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 2 thousand rebels of various anti-Assad groups, yesterday took control of a military base in southern Syria after 24 hours of fighting. The base - Brigade 52 - is located in a strategic point that unites Damascus to the south with Jordan.

According to the London based Observatory for Human Rights in Syria, the rebel forces have also occupied the Christian village of al-Rakham.

The official Syrian news agency Sana reported the capture of the base, but spoke of heavy air strikes in the area, that have killed "40 terrorists".

The fall of the base is the latest in a series of defeats suffered by the Syrian regime in the north and south of the country. According to analysts, the rebels - among which there are also the Islamic State militia - have been strengthened after the alliance struck between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Faced with the increasingly acute spiral of violence, the prospects for a political solution appear distant. A gathering of opposition groups in exile, along with representatives of domestic opponents, "tolerated" by the regime, is currently underway in Cairo.

The meeting which gathers at least 150 personalities aims to draft a political solution "... negotiated under the auspices of the UN", leading to the end of the fighting, the release of prisoners and the return of exiled political opponents.

Everyone agrees on the exclusion of the current regime, including President Assad, from any future role. Such an exclusion - in addition to the hostility between opponents – had previously scuttled talks in the past.

The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 with the anti-government protests. The violent response of the regime precipitated the situation into a civil war, which later became a regional war in which different outside backers (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey) support one or the other group of opponents against Assad's Syria.

So far the war has caused at least 230 thousand deaths, of which about 70 thousand are civilians, among them 11,500 children. Among those killed are also more than 30 thousand "foreign fighters", from Islamic countries in Asia and Africa and also from Western countries.

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