Bomber kills 15 west of Damascus

Updated 27 November 2013
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Bomber kills 15 west of Damascus

DAMASCUS: A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle at a bus stop west of Damascus on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, state television said.
“The terrorist explosion in front of the bus stop in Somariyeh was caused by a suicide attacker,” the broadcaster said in a news flash.
“It killed at least 15 citizens and wounded more than 30.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two children were among the dead.
“Nine of those killed were civilians, while six were troops,” said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground for its reporting.
Somariyeh neighborhood is home to “a complex housing families of soldiers fighting with the elite Fourth Division,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The Fourth Division is commanded by President Bashar Assad’s feared brother Maher.
The bombing came after mortar fire on several parts of Damascus killed six people, including two children, the Observatory said.
It also came as rebels, including Al-Qaeda loyalists, pressed a four-day-old offensive to lift a yearlong siege by the army of their positions in eastern suburbs of the capital.
Fighting raged in Adra, a strategic town northeast of the capital, while the army pounded the besieged rebel enclaves of Douma and Marj to its east, the Observatory said.
Hezbollah has sent “hundreds of fighters” to back the army in its bid to repulse the rebel assault, the watchdog added.
Health Minister Saad Al-Nayef accused the rebels of killing “five doctors, five nurses and two ambulance drivers” in the Qalamoun town of Deir Attiyeh after they seized it from the army last week.
In Nabuk, government airstrikes killed at least seven people, among them three children, the Observatory said.


Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

Syrian pro-government forces hold a position near the village of al-Malihah, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, on September 9, 2017, during the ongoing battle against Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

  • The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said Sunday that air defenses had opened fire near Damascus airport, before withdrawing the report after what appeared to be a false alarm.
“Our air defenses engaged hostile aerial targets in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport,” the official SANA news agency said, without providing more details.
But the report was later withdrawn by both SANA and state television without explanation.
SANA then quoted sources at the airport as saying that “there was no aggression” and that “traffic was normal.”
A well-informed source told AFP that “there was evidently a false alarm.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the sound of explosions rocked an area close to the airport and fire from air defenses was also heard.
The latest incident comes just over a week after Syria accused Israel of striking south of the capital.
The Britain-based Observatory said those were the first missiles to hit Syria since an air defense upgrade after the downing of a Russian plane in September.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.
Iran and Russia are the government’s key allies in the civil war that has raged Syria since 2011, and Moscow’s intervention in 2015 dramatically turned the tables against the rebels.
The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel.
Moscow pinned responsibility for the downing on Israel, saying its fighter jet used the larger Russian one for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus insisted would make Israel “think carefully” before carrying out further air raids.
The move raised fears in Israel that its ability to rein in its arch foe Iran’s military presence in Syria would be sharply reduced.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia that Israel would continue to hit hostile targets, while also maintaining “security coordination” with Moscow.