domingo, 2 de marzo de 2014

Govt forces attack key battlegrounds - Oman Daily Observer

NEAR ALEPPO — Syrian forces launched a wave of deadly air and ground attacks on northern Syria and Damascus yesterday.
War planes bombarded the northern town of Marea and heavy shelling was reported in the nearby hub of Aleppo, including an area where a Japanese journalist was killed after being caught up in gunfire on Monday.
Activists also reported that troops had stormed a town near Damascus, torching homes and shops, while helicopters and war planes strafed several suburbs of the capital, which the government claimed to have recaptured last month.
Yesterday, Syrian forces shelled districts in Aleppo, killing nine civilians, among them two women and two children, and pounded the towns of Marea and Tall Rifaat to the north, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The army bombarded dissident weapons stocks in the Aleppo region to prevent the arms from reaching them (in the city)," a Syrian security official said.
"Reinforcements from both sides are heading to Aleppo. It is a war that will last a long time." Aleppo, the main northern city which lies near the Turkish border, has become the main battleground of the conflict since fighting erupted there a month ago and the government has warned of a "mother of all battles" to recapture it.
An AFP reporter in Marea reported that mourners joined a funeral procession for a 20-year-old man they said was killed when a fighter jet fired on his home that morning.
"To paradise we go, martyrs in our millions," mourners chanted as they held the man's body aloft on a makeshift carrier, wrapped in a blanket but with his waxen face uncovered.
The LCC also reported heavy artillery shelling from tanks southwest of Damascus and said warplanes and helicopters were strafing nearby suburbs. Troops also stormed a town near Damascus, torching homes and shops, the Observatory said.
Yesterday's violence followed a bloody day in which 167 people were killed nationwide, the Observatory said.
Lakhdar Brahimi, who has replaced former UN chief Kofi Annan as the international point man for Syria, warned on Sunday that it was now a matter of ending civil war rather than avoiding it.
But Syria — which insists it is fighting an insurgency by "armed terrorist groups" backed by the West, Gulf states and Turkey — reacted angrily saying that to speak of civil war "contradicts reality".The last members of the expired observer mission are expected to leave on Tuesday. — AFP

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