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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January 29, 2012 |
Syrian tanks and troops moved Sunday to crush resistance in the rebellious suburbs of Damascus, opposition groups reported, bringing the bloody battle that has ravaged the nation for months to the doorsteps of the nation's capital. The fierce fighting reported outside Damascus was the latest sign that Syria's armed insurgency — long concentrated in provincial hotbeds of revolt like Homs, Hama and Dara — has now reached the edge of the city from which the Assad family has ruled Syria in autocratic fashion for more than 40 years.
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.
February 28, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Rebel forces have dug in to the north, east and south of Syria's capital, occupying stretches of suburban and rural terrain and threatening to break through to the heart of Damascus. Government troops have largely pulled back to a well-defended core, including the city center and loyal bastions to the west. After nearly two years of fighting in Syria that has mostly spared the capital, an uneasy stalemate reigns in Damascus. In recent days, the city has experienced mortar attacks and car bombings, while the military has responded in its usual fashion: withering bombardment of outlying rebel strongholds.