BEIRUT

Middle East

Mortar bombs rain down on Damascus for second day

  • This photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian woman, center, carrying her belongings on a damaged street which was attacked by a government forces airstrike, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

BEIRUT: Mortar bombs believed fired by rebel groups rained down on Damascus and its suburbs Wednesday, one day after more than 100 mortar bombs fell as people turned out to vote in the country’s presidential election.

State news agency SANA, quoting police sources, said that mortar bombs hit at least 15 neighborhoods throughout the capital, from Bab Touma and Qassaa in the east to Abu Rummaneh and Rawda neighborhoods toward the west. A mortar bomb also crashed through the roof of the Law Faculty building at Damascus University in the central neighborhood of Baramkeh.

SANA said two people were killed and 55 were wounded in the attacks, while another person was killed and three people wounded when a mortar bomb targeted the mainly Druze-Christian suburb of Jaramana.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime group based in Britain, said two people were killed in the Jaramana incident.

SANA said that Tuesday’s mortar bomb strikes during the presidential poll claimed the lives of four people and wounded 29 others, while the Observatory said that no fewer than 130 mortar bombs fell on the capital on election day, killing three people and wounding more than 15 others.

Outside Damascus, the death toll from an airstrike on the rural Damascus town of Zibdine, when a makeshift hospital was hit, rose to nine people, two of whom were doctors, the Observatory said.

Also Tuesday, 17 civilians, two of them children, were killed in regime airstrikes on the Damascus suburb of Douma and surrounding areas, the Observatory said.

A total of 209 people were killed Tuesday, according to the Observatory, among them 80 civilians.

Fierce fighting has also raged near the Damascus suburb of Mliha, as the Observatory reported that at least 11 fighters from Islamist militias have been killed in the last two days, as regime forces fired surface-to-surface missiles at the town, located near the highway leading to Damascus International Airport.

Two rebels were killed Wednesday in clashes raging in Harasta, to the east of the capital, the Observatory added.

In Aleppo, barrel bombs killed at least two people in rebel-held areas while the Badr Martyrs Brigade, a rebel group, shelled regime-held areas of the city with homemade mortar bombs, the Observatory said.

Clashes in the Azan district outside Aleppo killed two rebels and an army colonel, while rebels also targeted a regime military post in the Old City, causing an unknown number of casualties.

Helicopters dropped a number of barrel bombs on the town of Khan al-Shih, south of the capital.

Barrel bombs fell on several areas of Idlib province, while a woman was killed in a regime artillery strike on Maaret Misreen, the Observatory said.

Violence also raged in the province of Hama, where helicopters dropped four barrel bombs on the rebel-held town of Morek, on the highway leading to Aleppo, according to the Observatory.

Local activists in the Christian town of Mhardeh said it was targeted by a number of mortar bomb strikes, while the Observatory said that Rabia, an Alawite village, was targeted by Islamist militias firing mortar bombs.

A total of 13 regime and paramilitary troops were killed in clashes in the village of Umm Sharshouh in Homs, while both regime forces and rebel groups reportedly suffered casualties as fighting raged near the village of Nawa in Deraa province, according to the Observatory.

In the war raging between rival branches of Al-Qaeda, the Observatory said that the Nusra Front reclaimed control over two villages in eastern Deir al-Zor after ISIS seized them one day earlier.

It said fighting between ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, was also clashing with the Nusra Front and a number of allied Islamist militias in several other areas of the province.

A senior figure in Nusra earlier this week issued the latest ultimatum to the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS, vowing that its fighters would be pursued relentlessly if they failed to stop “handing over territory” to regime forces.

The Nusra Front, various Islamist militias and the mainstream Free Syrian Army have long accused ISIS of being in league with the regime and working to ensure that rebel groups suffer setbacks on the battlefield.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 05, 2014, on page 8.
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Summary

Mortar bombs believed fired by rebel groups rained down on Damascus and its suburbs Wednesday, one day after more than 100 mortar bombs fell as people turned out to vote in the country's presidential election.

SANA said two people were killed and 55 were wounded in the attacks, while another person was killed and three people wounded when a mortar bomb targeted the mainly Druze-Christian suburb of Jaramana.

SANA said that Tuesday's mortar bomb strikes during the presidential poll claimed the lives of four people and wounded 29 others, while the Observatory said that no fewer than 130 mortar bombs fell on the capital on election day, killing three people and wounding more than 15 others.

Local activists in the Christian town of Mhardeh said it was targeted by a number of mortar bomb strikes, while the Observatory said that Rabia, an Alawite village, was targeted by Islamist militias firing mortar bombs.


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