Hundreds of armed groups hold swathes of north Syria, says Red Cross

Reuters reports: Syria’s rebels are fragmented into hundreds of armed groups who control swathes of the north, while government forces appear to have consolidated their hold on the capital, a senior Red Cross official said on Monday.

Marianne Gasser, who left Syria 10 days ago after completing a term as head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team there, said there had been signs of “more assertiveness” by the government around Damascus since April.

Attempts to take aid to rebel and government-held parts of the country were also being held up by roadblocks and stone blockades set up by a wide array of armed groups, she told reporters in Geneva.

Independent accounts of the balance of power on the ground in Syria’s two-year-old civil war have been hard to come by, due to restrictions on the movements of many aid workers and independent journalists. [Continue reading…]

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