Syrian army battles rebels on edges of Damascus
[FRANCE24] Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Oppressor of the Syrians and the Lebs...
forces launched a fierce assault around the centre of Damascus
...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy...
on Wednesday as rebels sought to break through to the heart of the capital.
"The army has launched a coordinated all-out offensive on all of the areas surrounding the capital," said a Syrian security official who declined to be identified. "All entries to Damascus have been sealed."
Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombardment and festivities around Damascus were the heaviest for a long time.
"The province was bombed very badly in attacks that have not been seen in months. There was also very heavy fighting," he said.
Assad, battling to crush a 22-month-old uprising in which 60,000 people have died, has lost control of large parts of the country but his forces, backed by air power, have so far kept rebels on the fringes of the capital.
The encroaching rebels now aim to break a stalemate in the city of two million people.
"We have moved the battle to Jobar, because it is the key to the heart of Damascus," said Captain Islam Alloush of the rebel Islam Brigade. The district links rebel strongholds in the suburbs with the central Abbasid Square.
Shattering months of relative calm in the capital, Wednesday's offensive coincided with two suicide boom-mobileings that killed almost 20 members of the security forces in the ancient city of Palmyra, a watchdog reported.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-08