Damascus Suburbs Under Government Tank Fire (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Chana Ya´ar 03/21/12)
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Syrian Army regulars attacked two large Damascus suburbs Wednesday,
using tank fire in an attempt to rout entrenched rebel forces. The
bombardment came in response to renewed attacks overnight late
Tuesday by the Free Syrian Army on government forces in Harasta and
The government-controlled Syrian News Agency, meanwhile, supplied
international news agencies with handout photos of President Bashar
al-Assad visiting the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, politely chatting
with a hijab-clad woman and admiring a huge, framed copy of the Koran.
The loyalists retook the area two months ago from the rebels who had
seized control over the suburbs in fierce fighting near the eastern
edge of the capital. Anti-aircraft barrages and heavy artillery
struck the two communities overnight, and army helicopters were heard
by residents huddling in their homes, activists said.
FSA fighters, using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), attacked a
large Air Force Intelligence compound that reportedly is key in the
crackdown against the year-old uprising against the regime of
President Bashar al-Assad.
Other sites targeted by the rebels include the army roadblocks set up
along the roads inside and between the suburbs ringing the capital,
activists told reporters. Government tanks were reportedly shelling
near the Damascus-Aleppo highway that runs along the two suburbs, and
north of the Barzeh neighborhood.
At least 57 people were killed on Tuesday, mostly in the cities of
Homs, Hama and Idlib, activists reported, as the civil war continued
across the country.
More than 8,000 civilians have been murdered by government forces in
the past year, according to human rights groups and United Nations
estimates. It is impossible to obtain exact figures due to the
government ban on journalists and other international figures from
entering the country to assess such matters.
Numerous journalists, in fact, have been targeted in shelling by
government forces. Several were killed and numerous others were
wounded in such attacks last month; a number of others are missing in
action, including two Turkish reporters. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
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