Fifty-six Syrian citizens have been killed in clashes between governmental troops and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) across Syria on Monday.
In other developments, FSA seized the BaathDam and released three foreign hostages kidnapped in Syria, while opposition forces claimed that government troops had turned Damascus airport into a military barrack.
Syrian opposition sources said that 56 people, including four children were killed in clashes nationwide on Monday. There was also renewed fighting in Damascus between government troops and rebels, with witnesses reporting a car bomb explosion in el-Midan Square.
Representative of the Public Authority of the Syrian Revolution, Amar el-Sadek said that the Syrian army had turned Damascus airport into a military barrack, in a move that contradicts international norms. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army seized Baath Dam to shorten the distance between the eastern Syrian front and the western front to 90 kilometres.
On the other hand, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that Syrian "extremists" released three hostages, including two Russians and one Italian. The trio were kidnapped on December 12. The Russian Ministry confirmed that its embassy in Damascus received the Russian citizens, while the Syrian Foreign Ministry handed the Italian hostage to the Italian embassy in Damascus.
Israeli media quoted the former Israeli official Amos Yadlin as saying that the dissolution of the Syrian state would provide Israel with an opportunity to achieve strategic gains. He added that Syria would focus on building itself during the coming period, allowing Israel to improve its position strategically.
He discussed the recent Israeli attacks that targeted Syrian territories, adding that the objective of Israeli action is to prevent the Syrian regime from transferring a shipment of weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in a clear violation of UN Security Council resolution No. 1701 that ended Lebanon’s second war in 2006.
The Israeli expert predicted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would keep power for as long as the Syrian army supports him. He added that the Syrian president would be overthrown if the Russians stopped supporting him. He stressed that Russia’s vote in the UN Security Council prevented an international war against the Syrian regime.
Yadlin added that Iran was a serious threat to Israel during the past year, adding that it has the ability to make a nuclear bomb during in the future. He stressed that the Iranian issue is the biggest challenge facing Israel, calling on both the Israeli and US governments to cooperate and suspend such a "serious threat."
He added that the Iranian threat would pave the way for improving the relations between Israel and a number of Sunni countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He explained that these countries realise the threat that Iran poses against their interests.
Yadlin said that the Israeli government should resume negotiations with Palestinians in the future, adding that "while Hamas could dominate the West Bank politically, it would not dominate it militarily."
On the other hand, China’s Foreign Ministry announced that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem would visit China for three days from February 4, to meet with his Chinese counterpart. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the visit comes as part of China’s efforts to achieve a political solution to the Syrian issue.