Rebels hit Syrian army HQ in Damascus

4 Sep

 2 September 2012. Syrian rebels said they planted bombs inside the offices of the country’s vice president and top military chiefs. State TV reported that two blasts in the building wounded six people. The Revolution Leadership Council of Damascus claimed that eight explosive devices had been detonated. This video, featuring clouds of smoke and dust, claims to show the aftermath of the attack.

Al Jazeera, 3 September 2012. Sue Turton reports on the bombing of Syrian army headquarters in Damascus.

 

by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Jordan

Reuters

3 September 2012

article abridged

Rebels said they planted bombs inside the Syrian army’s General Staff headquarters in central Damascus on Sunday as president Bashar al-Assad’s forces bulldozed buildings to the ground in parts of the capital that have backed the uprising.

Syrian state television said four people were wounded in what it called a “terrorist attack” on the General Staff compound in the highly guarded Abu Rummaneh district, where another bomb attack killed four of Assad’s top lieutenants two months ago.

“The operation targeted officers in the Assad army who have been planning and giving the go ahead for the massacres against the Syrian people,” said a video statement by the Grandsons of the Prophet brigade, a division of the Free Syrian Army.

“Bombs were planted inside the army headquarters,” said the video statement, which was broadcast on Arab satellite channels.

But as the rebels demonstrated they could strike at the heart of the security apparatus, residents said army bulldozers moved on al-Zayat and Farouk neighbourhoods to the west, destroying at least 20 buildings in the Sunni Muslim areas that have sheltered the insurgents.

In the eastern Damascus neighbourhood of Hazza, footage taken by activists on Sunday showed several buildings on fire. Opposition sources said the army had earlier stormed the area and executed 27 young men.

“Any youth of fighting age seems to have been captured and killed,” said activist Obadah al-Haj, who had fled the area.

Activist video footage from the area showed a young man lying dead beside a yellow taxi, shot in the face. Another dead youth was in the driver seat, blood covering his head and chest.

Loyalist forces killed at least 25 men on Sunday when they shelled and stormed al-Fan, a Sunni village in the province of Hama, opposition campaigners said.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said most of the men appear to have been killed by shelling, but an unspecified number were executed when troops stormed the village later. The official state news agency said a military operation on Fan targeted “terrorists who were scaring citizens”.

Video footage from Fan taken by activists showed women and family members crying over bodies wrapped in white sheets and placed in a row on the floor of a mosque.

As the uprising in Syria has spread, it has taken on a more sectarian bent, with activists saying Assad’s best trained forces from the mostly Alawite Fourth Division and the Republican Guards are spearheading the fight in the capital.

Assad, who is backed by Shi’ite Iran and its Hezbollah Lebanese proxy, has lost control of rural areas in northern, eastern and southern regions and has used helicopter gunships and fighter jets to try to subdue the opposition.

In the southern city of Deraa, which stands between Damascus and Jordan, troops continued razing and bulldozing houses in the old part of the city for a third day after army shelling and aerial bombardment drove 40,000 people from there to Jordan.

Free Syrian Army fighters had left, their light weapons no match to the firepower of Assad’s forces, residents said.

“There are around 20 homes that have been demolished and 200 burnt,” said Ahmad Abu Nabout, a resident of Deraa. “Old Deraa is deserted. Troops cover up their looting by burning the homes or in some cases blowing them up.”

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