March 4 - In a significant development in the two-year-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian rebels said Monday they captured the northeastern city of Raqqa, the first provincial capital under their control. Mana Rabiee reports.
A city falls. Syrian rebels claim they captured the northeastern city of Raqqa Monday, making it the first provincial capital controlled by rebels in the two-year long war against the Assad regime. Video posted to social media websitse on Monday shows crowds ripping a billboard of President Bashar al-Assad and toppling a statue of his late father, Hafez. Rebel groups launched an offensive Saturday to take Raqqa -- despite pleas from residents here not to enter their city, in fears Assad's forces would target their residential areas. Other video posted Monday shows rebels in what they say is Raqqa's central prison, now abandoned. "We are now at the central prison of Raqqa. Here are where the soldiers and the Assad gangs used to stay. The central prison of Raqqa. There are no pictures of Bashar.'' Reuters cannot independently the video -- but if confirmed the fall of the city is a significant chapter in Syria's civil war.