News / Middle East

    Government Airstrike Destroys Damascus City Block

    This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
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    This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
    This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke and fire after a fighter jet crashed into a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 20, 2013.
    Edward Yeranian
    A Syrian government airstrike over a Damascus suburb on Wednesday destroyed parts of a city block, killing or wounding dozens. The strike came amid intensified government shelling of rebel-held districts in and around the capital in recent days.

    Young men screamed and cursed as they dug through the rubble of burning and collapsed buildings to pull out victims of a government airstrike in the Damascus suburb of Hamouriya. A live webcam broadcast showed a large city block engulfed in fire, as smoke poured from the ruins.

    Fire and rescue vehicles arrived at the scene to try to douse dozens of burning shops, cars and buildings. Young men used crowbars to pry open smoldering vehicles and remove bodies, as ambulances ferried survivors away from the blast site.
     
    Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
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    Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
    Deaths from Syrian conflict, updated Feb. 14, 2013.
    Elsewhere, witnesses reported intense bouts of shelling and multiple airstrikes by government forces in southern and eastern rebel-held districts of Damascus and its suburbs. A top rebel officer reportedly was wounded in one such government attack on the besieged suburb of Daraya.

    In the Damascus district of Zamalka, a football player was killed and several others wounded when mortar rounds fell at a stadium complex. Syrian state TV reported that rebels had fired the mortars, showing a glass-strewn room and blood-stained sports bag allegedly belonging to one of the players.

    Rebel sources claimed that mortar shells fired at a pro-government Ba'ath Party headquarters missed their target, hitting the stadium complex. Syrian government forces have taken over many stadiums and sports facilities during the 23 month-old conflict to use as military garrisons.

    In Syria's northern commercial hub-city of Aleppo, rebel forces continued to attack the city's main international airport. Amateur video showed rebel fighters holding positions overlooking the airport. Government forces have sent in reinforcements in recent days to try to break the rebel siege.

    Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said the government has lost control of the main highway from Damascus to Aleppo, from Hama to Aleppo, but that government forces were able to use another route to send in reinforcements.

    "Between Hama and Aleppo, the highway is in rebel hands. However, [the government] can access Aleppo through the deserts. There are by-roads and actually, heavy vehicles don't need paved roads in order to travel," said Khashan.

    At the Arab Cooperation Forum in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that neither the Syrian government, nor the rebels, can win the conflict militarily, and that it must be solved through dialogue.

    Lavrov said what is happening now shows it is time to put an end to the two-year long conflict because neither side can count on a military solution, which he said is a road to nowhere, just the mutual destruction of the nation.

    The conference was attended by Arab League Secretary General Nabil ElArabi and the foreign ministers of Lebanon and Egypt. Both Russia and the Arab League said they are trying to create a transitional government to broker an end to Syria's conflict.

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    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    February 21, 2013 4:27 PM
    Hey Igor from Russia, you don't aerial bombard entire streets killing 30 civilian deaths, that is a war crime. You don't not care about civilians to kill everything on a street, that is nonsense. This is complete disregard for the civilians in Syria. Bashar al Assad is being a terrorist inflicting terror with no respect to the nation and people of Syria.

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    February 20, 2013 3:35 PM
    Another terrible crime against humanity, these crimes will just continue, for as long as Assad and his criminal chronies have large weapons to destroy the civilian Sunni population. The need exists to save the thousands of Sunni Muslim civilans, who have no place to go, by destroying all of Assad's big weapons, that are causing these daily massacres of mainly Sunni Muslim civilians in Syria.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    February 21, 2013 1:48 AM
    Couldn't agree with you more. What he is doing is similar to carpet bombing civilian areas. No intentions of saving anyones life on the street even the innocent. This is a crime against humanity in its finest. 200 years ago this may of been an easy crime to get away with. Thank goodness for the people of Syria and their video recorders to record these crimes against their nation. Most of the cities, towns and villages are have areas completely destroyed from aerial bombardment. I bet that the death counts are much worse than anyone expects. If Bashar is off of Syrian soil (and in the med sea) and inflicting attacks on the Nation of Syria, this is a form of terrorism on the people of Syria.

    Seems to me the dictionary definition for "Terrorism" is:
    The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    February 20, 2013 10:32 PM
    You are so short-sighted. Do you know the real culprits of those crimes against humanity? They are those who have been inciting riots, ethnic hatred, sowing division within Syrian society in the name of "Democracy" and they having doing so for their self-interest. And they are conspiring to blame Mr.Assad for all those crimes. In fact he is one of their victims.

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