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Syrian rebels capture key oil-producing state
DECEMBER 23, 2013 03:09  
South Syrian bloodshed was becoming into civil war within a week as Syrian rebels took Unity state, a key oil-producing field, and US aircraft under operation to evacuate US citizens was shot.

Former South Sudan Vice-President and current rebel leader Riek Machar has said in an interview with BBC on Saturday that rebel troops have captured the key oil-producing state and control much of the country. Mr. Machar also confirmed that he was the key person for the coup, saying that the forces fighting the government were under his command.

Unity, a state on the border with Sudan, is the key oil-producing field which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country뭩 economy. South Sudan government forces SPLA spokesman announced that a senior military commander, Gen. James Koang Chol who was defending Unity state, had defected.

At least 500 people were killed in South Sudan capital city Juba in clashes between government forces and rebels, and 40,000 refugees have been scattered in three local UN camps. Bloodshed is getting severe as rebels captured Jonglei state, 200 km away from Juba. On Friday, 2 Indian peacekeepers and 11 citizens were killed in a UN camp in Jonglei.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who is currently visiting the Philippines, called on both South Sudan President Mayardit and rebels leader Mr. Machar to request immediate stop of military actions and to find a political way out of this crisis. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sent Ambassador Donald Booth to arbitrate political negotiation between two sides. African Union Commission chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also requested Christmas ceasefire to both sides.

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