Blasts, gunfire in new Syria fighting
(CNN) — Intense fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces erupted Monday in the Damascus neighborhood of al-Mazzeh, the site of embassies, security buildings and the homes of some members of the president’s inner circle, opposition activists said.
At least 18 members of the security forces were injured, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The clashes were the fiercest so far in the Syrian capital, and the closest to its security centers since the start of the Syrian uprising last year, the group said.
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army confirmed the rebels’ involvement in the clashes. The Syrian government has not released an official statement.
The fighting in Damascus came as rebels made apparent gains against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces elsewhere in the country.
Car bombings reported in Syria
Damascus bombings ‘significant’
Syria activist says blasts ‘distraction’
UN mission seeks Syrian peace
Free Syrian Army fighters destroyed “the Division of the Countryside,” a government ministry, in the eastern area of Deir Ezzor, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC), an opposition activist network. The rebels battled government forces who subjected them to “intense shelling,” the group said.
CNN cannot independently confirm reports of casualties or attacks in Syria because the government has severely restricted the access of international journalists.
But more than 8,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the United Nations. Opposition activists say the overall toll is more than 9,000, most of them civilians.
At least eight people were killed across Syria on Monday, according to the LCC. The deaths include three in the Damascus suburbs of Doma and Qatana; two in idlib; one in Aleppo; and two in the northeastern city of Qameshli.
In addition, “several” security forces were killed when the Free Syrian Army attacked a security checkpoint in Qameshli, the LCC said.
Syria routinely blames the violence on “armed terrorist groups.”
State-run news agency SANA said two “terrorists” were killed by authorities Monday in al-Mazzeh, and one member of the authorities was killed as well.
For months, rebel fighters in the Free Syrian Army have battled the much larger, better-equipped Syrian forces.
Syria’s arms imports have increased almost six times from 2007 to 2011 compared the previous five years — thanks largely to Russia, according to a report published Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Russia supplied 78% of Syria’s imports between 2007 and 2011, the institute said. Russia continued delivering missile systems to Syria in 2011, it said, but the report did not indicate how many weapons were sent to the regime after the government crackdown started in March 2011. Amid the mounting carnage across the country, the humanitarian situation across Syria continues deteriorating, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday.
“The ICRC is particularly concerned about vulnerable people, such as those detained in connection with the fighting and those who are sick or injured and need medical care,” said ICRC’s president, Jakob Kellenberger, who was scheduled to discuss the situation with Russia’s foreign minister in Moscow on Monday.
Russia, along with China, has vetoed attempts by fellow U.N. Security Council members to pass resolutions condemning al-Assad regime.
Most reports from inside Syria indicate the regime is slaughtering civilians to wipe out dissidents seeking al-Assad’s ouster. The al-Assad family has ruled Syria for more than four decades.
But al-Assad’s regime has insisted that “armed terrorist groups” are behind the violence and says it has popular support for its actions.
CNN’s Saad Abedine, Amir Ahmed, Holly Yan, Chelsea J. Carter and Rima Maktabi contributed to this report.
Share this on:
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/-SgadQOSMx4/
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RipleysStuff/~3/ivcyoav-N4I/