Syria minister wounded, Russia says regime may lose



Agence France Presse

Published — Thursday 13 December 2012

Last update 14 December 2012 2:30 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

DAMASCUS: A car bomb killed 16 people outside the Syrian capital on Thursday hours after a bombing wounded the interior minister as Damascus ally Moscow acknowledged the regime may lose the fight against rebels.
The latest bombing struck outside an army housing complex and near an elementary school, and children made up seven of the dead and many of the 23 wounded, state media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
It followed a triple bomb attack on the interior ministry on Wednesday that killed at least five people and put Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Shaar in hospital with a shoulder injury sustained when his office ceiling collapsed, a security source told AFP.
The increased attacks on government targets came after Arab and Western governments recognized the armed opposition as sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and as Washington said an increasingly desperate military was resorting to longer-range missiles and incendiary bombs against the rebels.
The state SANA news agency blamed “terrorists” for the bombing in a residential area of Qatana, an army-controlled town southwest of Damascus.
“This morning, terrorists targeted the residential area of Ras Al-Nabaa with a vehicle loaded with explosives, blowing it up in front of the Mikhael Samaan school,” the news agency said.
The security source said that a betrayal within the interior ministry’s own protection service had made possible Wednesday’s attack, using a booby-trapped car and two other devices.
“It is impossible to get near the ministry gate except in an official vehicle,” the source said, adding that the minister was not seriously wounded.
“He was taken to hospital but his condition gives no cause for concern and he should be discharged rapidly.”
It is the second time Shaar has been wounded in an attack.
He narrowly escaped being killed in a spectacular July 18 bombing that claimed the lives of four other top security officials, including the defense minister and President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law.
The attacks so near the capital, coming on top of the rebels’ seizure of key bases in recent weeks that has given them control of large swathes of the northwest and the east, prompted an admission from a top Russian diplomat that defeat of Moscow’s long-time ally could not be ruled out.
“As for preparing for victory by the opposition, this, of course, cannot be excluded,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying by the ITAR-TASS news agency.
“You need to look the facts in the eyes — the government regime is losing more and more control over a large part of the country’s territory.”
The RIA Novosti news agency also quoted Bogdanov as saying that the recognition of the opposition Syrian National Coalition by the United States and other states had only emboldened the opposition.
“They (the rebels) are saying that victory is not far away, ‘let’s take Aleppo, let’s take Damascus’,” he said.
The rebels’ capture of the Sheikh Suleiman base on Monday gave them full control of a belt of territory running from the outskirts of second city Aleppo to the Turkish border.
Late last month they made a major push up the Euphrates valley, giving them control of territory in the east from the Iraqi border to the outskirts of the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor.
An airbase just east of the city came under rebel mortar fire early on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory said.
The military launched air strikes against rebel positions along the Damascus airport road, which was briefly closed by rebel fire late last month, and in the town of Daraya southwest of the capital, the Britain-based watchdog added.
The army has also been resorting to Scud missile strikes against rebel targets in zones now beyond the range of artillery, a US official confirmed on Wednesday.
The unguided Scud, famously fired into Israel by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf war, can deliver a payload of 3,500 kilos (7,700 pounds) or more over a range of 200 kilometers (125 miles) or more, defense analysts say.
An AFP correspondent reported repeated missile firings into the rebel-held northwest since the fall of the Sheikh Suleiman base on Monday, but was unable to say if they were Scuds.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

MADINAH/JEDDAH: Pilgrims and visitors performing tawaf (circumambulation) of the Holy Kaaba or praying around it may look forward to relief from the blazing sun, as a proposal to shade the Mataf area is being studied.According to local media, the mat...
JEDDAH: Users of WhatsApp were a joyous lot on Saturday as the call facility finally became available on the popular messaging service in the Kingdom.The facility, which is for free now, through WhatsApp was earlier banned in Saudi Arabia and only me...
RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...
NAJRAN: School of Dentistry students at Najran University expressed disappointment with group failure of 13 students, accusing the faculty members of being unfair with their examinations.The university spokesman, Dr. Zuhair Al-Omari, said the eighth...

Stay Connected

Facebook