News / Middle East

Air Strikes in Syrian Capital Shatter Truce

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather in front of a damaged building that was destroyed by a car bomb, at Jaramana neighborhood, in Damascus, Syria, Monday Oct. 29, 2012.In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather in front of a damaged building that was destroyed by a car bomb, at Jaramana neighborhood, in Damascus, Syria, Monday Oct. 29, 2012.
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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather in front of a damaged building that was destroyed by a car bomb, at Jaramana neighborhood, in Damascus, Syria, Monday Oct. 29, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather in front of a damaged building that was destroyed by a car bomb, at Jaramana neighborhood, in Damascus, Syria, Monday Oct. 29, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Syria's Eid al Adha holiday truce is in tatters as Syrian warplanes bombed rebel targets Monday in the Damascus suburbs in what activists say was the fiercest air raid campaign in the capital since the uprising began 19 months ago. Also, a car bomb explosion hit a mostly pro-government suburb of Damascus, killing at least 10 people.

Syrian state television showed firefighters and neighbors picking through mounds of rubble and twisted metal after a car bomb exploded in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana.

Residents told state media that the explosion took place in front of a bakery in a civilian area with no military targets. The southeastern district is controlled by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But one resident questioned to state media why anyone would bomb the area.

Timeline of Syria Uprising

March 2011: First protests erupt, dozens killed. Government announces reforms, then resigns.

April, May 2011: Protests intensify and spread, hundreds killed. U.S. imposes sanctions on top leaders.

August, September 2011: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain withdraw ambassadors. U.S. imposes economic sanctions, EU bans Syrian oil imports.

October 2011: Russia, China veto a U.N. resolution condemning Syria.

November 2011: The Arab League suspends Syria's membership.

January 2012: Government releases 5,000 prisoners. Death toll soars past 7,000.

February 2012: Russia, China veto a second U.N. resolution condemning crackdown.  

March 2012: Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan holds talks in Syria. U.N. says death toll exceeds 9,000. Syria agrees to U.N.-backed peace plan.

April 2012: Syria says it will abide by a cease-fire on April 12, but violence continues. U.N. observers arrive.

May 2012: Syria holds parliamentary elections, violence continues, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan appeals to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence.

June 2012: Western nations expel Syrian diplomats, Annan urges increased pressure on Syria.

July 2012: Red Cross expands areas of Syria it says are in civil war. Violence increases across the country.

August 2012: A day after Syrian warplanes attacked the rebel-controlled northern town of Azaz and a bombing near the U.N. observer headquarters in Damascus, the U.N. Security Council decides to end the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria when its mandate expires on August 19. Annan steps down as U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria.

September 2012: Fighting intensifies in Aleppo and continues across the country. New U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visits the country and meets with Assad.

October 2012:  Aleppo's historic souk burns as fighting rages in the city. The Syrian army says it will suspend military operations to mark the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, declaring a cease-fire during the holiday, but reserving the right to respond to rebel attacks and bombings.

Multiple raids around Damascus

He said that Jaramana is known for being a peaceful area, where everyone gets along well.

The car bomb attack came as the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighter jets carried out at least six raids on other areas of the capital, including Rankous and Harasta.

The opposition group reported intense clashes as troops attempt to regain control from anti-government rebels. An opposition activist said "more than 100 buildings were destroyed" during Monday's attacks and that "whole neighborhoods are deserted."

Earlier, the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, met in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and told a news conference they were disappointed that neither the government nor the rebels were observing a Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday truce.

Finger pointing by both sides

The government and opposition blame each other for breaking the truce.

Brahimi, however, said he would not give up on the peace process.

“I'm terribly sorry, just as Sergei has said he was, that this appeal has not been heard to the level we hoped it would. But that will not discourage us because Syria is very important and because the people of Syria deserve our support and our interest," said Brahimi. "So we shall continue to work as hard as we possibly can, with the cooperation of everybody inside and outside Syria, to bring the level of violence down.”

Brahimi said he preferred to call the cease-fire a “pause,” and said he had not negotiated extensively with either side to implement it. He also said that Syria “needs real and not just cosmetic change.”

“That change,” he said, “must be worked out by the Syrians... with a Syrian-led process” and “supported by the international community.”

Death toll climbs

Middle East analyst Riad Kahwaji, who heads the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said the cease-fire was ineffective since neither side saw an interest in observing one.

"There was no real cease-fire. The parties involved had no interest in going right now into a cease-fire. It was apparent that both sides agreed to the cease-fire just to avoid taking the blame for not agreeing to a cease-fire. I think from Brahimi's side, it is a way to show that he is trying to do something,” said Kahwaji.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed deep disappointment that the cease-fire failed to take hold. During a speech Monday in South Korea, Ban called on the international community to do more to help stop the fighting.

The Observatory, an opposition watchdog, said 420 people have been killed since Friday.

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by: Anonymous
November 01, 2012 10:37 AM
Assad makes me laugh, he blames all the Syrian people as being terrorists. Same things kids do, accuse of their own acts. If anyone is a terrorist in Syria it is Assad. If killing 30,000 people isn't a terrorist I don't know what is... It is equivilent to 6 times the killing of the 911 Attack. HELLO???

by: Klaris from: USA
October 30, 2012 4:01 PM
to all those Arabs who would like nothing better than to see young American soldiers being killed and humiliated in Syria, stop telling us how "good" the people of Syria are... they are not...!!! they are the scumbags who killed Americans in Iraq... and Benghazi...!! why don't you ask Hizbullah to stop killing Sunny Arabs... Ahhh??? or Iran...??

by: Justice from: Ottawa Canada
October 30, 2012 3:45 PM
Sameful that Voice of America is so biased in this report. Headline says Jets broke truce. Even an observor from North America can see that (1) The main party to refuse the truce were the Islamic rebels, (2) the bombs against Christian and Shia areas continued unabatted and (3) jets are used to strike at ongoing military activity. Same on Voice of America.cIt seems that Mrs Clinton is writing your articles.

by: Anonymous
October 30, 2012 1:30 AM
The more activities like this that Assad does, the more not only Syrians will hate Assad, the more the world will. If the Chinese and the Russian governments approve or support or provide arms to this type of systematic genocidal government then they need their heads checked. What is going to be left of the country? What type of so called military bombs their own country like this? You can't kill thousands and thousands and thousands of people and expect to crush the hatred, it only grows stronger and more popular more and more.

I can't believe Russia Government or Chinese Government can tolerate this, absolutely pathetic.

by: carlos from: us
October 30, 2012 12:57 AM
I was in Syria when Hitler's father was in charge .. in 1978 .. the Syrian people are fantastic .. I am ashamed that we have a president who cared more for his own political ambitions than for helping these people .. I would love to have a president with courage ..

by: Carlos.. from: us
October 30, 2012 12:51 AM
Cowardice reigns in the Barak Obama White House .. he abandons the Syrian people in the mass murder of Hitler in Damascus and Mussolini in the Kremlin .. President Obama could have sent in his flying robots to eliminate the murderous dictator 598 days ago when his minions started shooting unarmed protesters who want an end to 40 years of tyranny ..
March 28, 2011, "when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians." www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/03/28/president-obama-s-speech-libya

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” (Except in an election year?)
“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different,” (Except in an election year)
“And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
I have been to Aleppo and never met a kinder people ..

by: BillyHewitt from: Marion Indiana
October 30, 2012 12:23 AM
The Sunni terrorists from dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Libya, UAE, Qater continue to invade Syria and spread terror and death. Israel continues to threaten to use atomic weapons to attack Iran. The threat of World War III increases every day with the CIA arming the terrorists. The end of world scenario is in sight with the desparate US homosexual army plan for control of middle east oil.

by: Rev. Nazarin from: UK
October 29, 2012 5:50 PM
to all you Arabs... please do not ply us with pictures of children... we know what you do with your children... and your contemptible attempts to generate sympathy for you by appealing to our Judeo/Christian sentiments are as repulsive as you are contemptible. Al Qaida - Palestinians - Muslim Brotherhood... degenerates!!!

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