Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets "Tor" network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Teen slammed for taking smiling selfie at Auschwitz

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Middle east

Fierce clashes reported in Syrian capital Damascus

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-19

Heavy fighting between the rebel Free Syrian Army and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad raged in the Syrian capital of Damascus Monday, one day after a car bomb ripped through a residential area of Syria's second city, Aleppo.

AP - Syrian security forces clashed Monday with gunmen in an upscale neighborhood of the capital Damascus that is home to embassies and senior officials in one of the worst confrontations in the tightly-controlled city center in the country’s yearlong uprising.

The pro-government Ikhbariyah TV station said the clash in the western Mazzeh district left three “terrorists” and a member of the security forces dead. It said one of the attackers was captured and three security troops were wounded.

Ikhbariyah said the attackers were hiding out in an apartment building before the firefight.

A resident of the western Mazzeh district said automatic rifles and machineguns were used in the two-hour clash that ended at about 4 a.m. local time. “We also heard three strong explosions,” said the man who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisal.

He added that the clash was close to the Swiss embassy and the home of Maj. Gen. Assef Shawkat, the deputy chief of staff for security affairs who is married to President Bashar Assad’s sister, Bushra.

Armed rebels are active in Damascus’ suburbs and satellite towns but rarely venture into the heart of the capital where Assad’s troops are deployed in force.

Damascus has been largely free of the daily shootings and deaths reported across the country since the uprising against Assad began in March last year. But the capital has witnessed several major bomb attacks targeting security facilities, most recently on Saturday. The government blames “terrorists” for the bombings but the opposition says that the regime itself may be carrying them out to discredit the uprising.

The new fighting shows that rebels can still strike in the heart of the capital despite successful government offensive in the past weeks in the suburbs of Damascus, in the central city of Homs and the northern region of Idlib.

Syrian authorities claim the opposition is made up of “terrorist” groups carrying out a foreign conspiracy.

An activist in the capital said the Monday morning clashes occurred near the Political Security Directorate building. He said the clashes were followed with raids by security forces who were searching for the attackers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists throughout Syria, said 18 of Assad’s troops were wounded in the clashes. It described the clashes “as the most violent of its kind and closest to security centers in Damascus since the revolution began.”

The rebel Free Syrian Army, which includes thousands of army defectors, have claimed responsibility in the past for attacks against regime forces.

The group’s leader, Col. Riad al-Asaad, refused to comment on the fighting in Damascus when contacted by The Associated Press by telephone. “This is a sensitive military matter that we cannot comment about,” he said from Turkey.

On Saturday, three suicide bombings in Damascus killed 27 people. Two of them also targeted government security buildings.

On Sunday, an explosion killed two and wounded 30 in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest.
 

Date created : 2012-03-19

  • SYRIA

    Car bomb explodes in Syrian city of Aleppo

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria blames bomb attacks on ‘foreign powers’

    Read more

  • SYRIA - UN

    Mission headed to Syria to push peace proposals, Annan says

    Read more

COMMENT(S)