October 25, 2013 |
ANTAKYA, Turkey - Syrian government forces killed more than 40 rebels in an ambush in a strategic region east of Damascus, the official news agency said Friday, as fierce clashes were reported outside the capital. Also, state-run television said Abu Mohammed Jolani, the leader of Al Nusra Front, or Jabhat al Nusra, a group of Islamist fighters, was killed in Latakia province. The report could not be confirmed. Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders, an international aid group, reported that more than 100,000 civilians had fled in recent weeks from the town of Safira, southeast of the battleground city of Aleppo, amid heavy bombardment and fighting in the area.
December 2, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Fierce clashes and heavy government bombardment were reported Sunday on the outskirts of Damascus as the Syrian military pressed an offensive aimed at securing the capital and its vulnerable international airport. Syrian warplanes and artillery pounded rebel-held positions to the south and east of the capital, opposition spokesmen said, continuing a pattern of heavy strikes that has continued for at least four days. The government appears intent on creating a security cordon around the capital and along the road to the nation's international airport, where flights were interrupted last week because of clashes along the main airport road - which skirts several rebel-dominated districts.
August 23, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Syrian forces on Thursday renewed attacks against rebel strongholds in the nation's two largest cities, highlighting the determination of President Bashar Assad's government to crush resistance in Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo. For a second consecutive day, opposition activists said, the military used mortars and airstrikes in Daraya, a suburb south of Damascus, the capital. "They are shelling it at an insane pace," said Moaz Shami, a Damascus-based activist.
February 16, 2013 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - Somewhere between the Christian and historical Jewish quarters of Old Damascus, labyrinthine alleys lead to a nondescript cobblestone tunnel that opens onto an Ottoman-era home, one of this ancient capital's many boutique hotels. Inside, across a courtyard and along the basalt stone wall, several young artists and musicians sit beneath a tangerine tree chatting and smoking a hookah, or water pipe. One strums a setar , a three-string lute indigenous to the region.
June 14, 2012 |
MOSCOW - News stories on Syria in many parts of the world often focus on reports of government assaults against insurgents and civilian populations. In Russia, hardly a day passes without media relaying the official line from Damascus: that "terrorists" and foreign powers are to blame. Russian television and newspapers routinely carry headlines and teasers such as "Saudi Arabia and other countries supply arms to Syrian rebels," "Bashar Assad: Foreign countries are to blame," and "Hypocrisy kills like bullets.
June 6, 2013 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - After two years of grinding conflict, they are talking victory in Mazzeh Jabal 86, a gritty urban hillside where narrow alleys are festooned with jury-rigged electrical cables and testimonials to the "martyrs" lost fighting for the government of President Bashar Assad. Televisions were tuned Thursday to images of troops advancing through the rubble of Qusair, which had been a rebel logistics hub for more than a year before being overrun this week by the Syrian army and allies from Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
July 16, 2012 |
ANTAKYA, Turkey - Armored vehicles patrolled the streets of the Syrian capital's historic Midan quarter. Shelling and gunfire rattled the southern neighborhood of Tadamon. Protesters burned tires to block major roads. The Syrian uprising, which grew from the nation's provinces, appears to have come to Damascus in earnest during the last two days. Opposition activists have called the clashes on Sunday and Monday in Damascus the heaviest fighting to date in President Bashar Assad's seat of power.
November 7, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Syria's armed opposition, driven back from Damascus in a fierce government counteroffensive last summer, appears to be responding with a revamped strategy that runs through some of the capital's most explosive sectarian and ethnic fault lines. A pair of bombings this week struck districts that are strongholds of President Bashar Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam whose adherents are generally hostile to the Sunni-led uprising. Trusted Alawite commanders run much of Assad's security apparatus.
April 21, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian government security forces and paramilitaries killed dozens of people, many of them civilians, in a five-day battle for a Damascus suburb, rebel activists and a pro-opposition nongovernmental organization said Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, considered close to the opposition, said at least 80 people had been killed in the fighting in Jdeidat al Fadel, a suburb of Damascus, the capital. The British-based organization said the dead included three children, six women and 71 men, of whom 19 were fighters.
July 30, 2013 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - A chaotic passageway through blasted walls, blood-spattered floors and bullet-pocked rooms leads to the narrow stairway where a teenager pokes his Kalashnikov rifle into a sliver of light slicing through the sandbags. "If we don't protect our camp, who will?" asked 18-year-old Yehya from his perch on a landing, keeping watch on crumbling apartment blocks and debris-laden streets outside. The battle for Damascus, the capital, has become a brutal fight for the suburbs.