Middle East

Fighting intensifies around Syrian capital

Activists report regime efforts to crush rebel-held pockets around Damascus, as Kurdish groups advance in north.

Last Modified: 02 Nov 2013 23:58
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Rebel fighters face push back from the regime after making advances near Damascus last month [File: AFP]

Syrian air and land forces have pressed ahead with an intensified campaign on rebel-held pockets around Damascus, as Kurdish fighters in the country's north drove home advances against al-Qaeda-linked groups, monitoring agencies report.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based anti-government group, said the air force carried out raids on Sbeineh, south of the capital, on Saturday as government troops shelled the town.

Rebels on the capital's southern front were battling government troops backed by pro-government militias, it said.

"The strike was part of the regime's offensive against rebel areas in and around southern Damascus," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency.

There has been a marked escalation along Damascus' southern belt, which has been under a suffocating siege for months, giving rise to widespread malnutrition especially among children.

The regime has for months been trying to secure the capital, which is surrounded by rebel positions.

State news agency SANA, meanwhile, said two people were wounded in shelling by "terrorists" of the Bab Jabieh neighbourhood of central Damascus.

Southeast of Damascus, several mortar rounds smashed into the majority Christian-Druze neighbourhood of Jaramana, wounding nine people, according to SANA.

In rebel-held Yabrud, northeast of the capital, one person was killed and several others were wounded in a car bomb explosion, according to the SOHR.

Kurdish offensive

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters pressed an advance against the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the majority Kurdish province of Hasake, according to the Syrian Observatory.

On Saturday, they took over several villages and military positions surrounding Ras al-Ain, which borders Turkey. According to the Observatory, Kurdish militia are now in control of a stretch of 25km along the Syrian-Turkish border, to the west of Ras al-Ain.

In-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria

The advance comes less than a week after Kurdish fighters took over the Yaarubiyeh border crossing with Iraq.

Elsewhere, in the Christian village of Sadad in central Homs province, rebels fought to seize massive government arms warehouses, and the bodies of six civilians were found in a well, among them two children, said the Observatory.

The latest documented deaths took the total number of dead found in Sadad to 45, including 15 women, since clashes in the area began on October 21, the monitoring group said.

In the northern province of Aleppo, meanwhile, government troops took over the village of Aziziyeh, days after seizing the strategic town of Sfeira from rebel hands, according to the Aleppo Media Centre, a network of anti-government activists.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list