36 Dead as Syria Warplane Hits Capital for 1st Time and Rebels Assassinate General
[An Nahar] A Syrian fighter jet hit targets inside Damascus
...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world...
for the first time on Tuesday, a watchdog said, as air strikes pounded rebel bastions around the country and an air force general was rubbed out.
The warplane dropped four bombs on the east Damascus neighborhood of Jobar, near the opposition-held suburb of Zamalka, where rebel fighters were locked in fierce festivities with the army, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Only helicopter gunships had previously been used to strafe areas inside the capital, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Agence La Belle France Presse correspondents reported that the bombing run was heard across the capital.
The strike, and more raids around the country, came as Syrian rebels grabbed credit for the killing in Damascus of an air force general.
State television said the general, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi, was killed in the north Damascus district of Rukn al-Din, but gave no further details.
The general was was rubbed out on Monday evening as he left a friend's home, a security source in Damascus told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In a statement posted on the Internet, the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said it had killed Khalidi, who it said was in charge of training, along with an air force intelligence officer.
The government has intensified air strikes against rebel-held areas in recent days, with more than 60 raids on Monday, the most in a single day so far, the Observatory said.
On Tuesday, air strikes hit rebel bastions around Damascus including the town of Douma, where the Observatory said large numbers of people were killed or maimed.
The northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan, seized by rebels earlier this month, was also hit, with seven civilians killed, including four children, it said.
The army has been battling rebels for weeks for control of the town, which is on a key supply route between Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo
...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins...
Tuesday also saw festivities between rebels and troops backed by Paleostinian fighters at the Yarmuk refugee camp, home to 148,500 Paleostinians on the edge of the capital.
Anwar Raja, front man for the pro-Damascus Popular Front for the Liberation of Paleostine-General Command, said its forces clashed for about an hour with rebels trying to infiltrate the camp but that there were no casualties.
There are more than 510,000 Paleostinian refugees living in Syria, and their leadership is largely supportive of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Light of the Alawites...
At least 36 people, including 22 civilians, were killed in fighting on Tuesday, the Observatory said.
With international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi due in China in a bid to revive peace efforts, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, a vocal supporter of arming the rebels, said the international community's failure to halt the fighting was making it complicit in the violence.
"What is happening in Syria is not a civil war but a war of extermination against the Syrian people," he told Al-Jazeera
... an Arab news network headquartered in Qatar, notorious for carrying al-Qaeda press releases. The name means
the Peninsula, as in the Arabian Peninsula. In recent years it has settled in to become slightly less biased than MSNBC, in about the same category as BBC or CBS...
The war, he charged, was being waged "with a license to kill, endorsed firstly by the Syrian government and secondly by the international community."
On the first day after the Eid al-Adha Moslem holiday, which saw a ceasefire bid collapse in the face of renewed festivities, car boomings and air strikes, the Observatory said more than 500 people had died in fighting over its four days.
Brahimi was to travel to China from Russia. Both are historic Damascus allies and have repeatedly blocked tough U.N. Security Council action against Assad's government.
Diplomats say the U.N.-Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
envoy is to present the council with new proposals in November following the two visits.
The uprising, which began in March 2011 as a peaceful protest movement, has escalated into an armed insurgency. More than than 35,000 people have died according to the Observatory, at least 20,000 according to the U.N.
Most of the rebels are members of Syria's Sunni Moslem majority. Assad's government is dominated by his Alawite minority.
Posted by: Fred 2012-10-31