Mon, Sep 17, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Shelling worsens in Syria day after UN envoy’s visit

AFP, BEIRUT

Syrian troops yesterday fought rebel fighters and shelled their bastions in the country’s two main cities, Damascus and Aleppo, a day after UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that the conflict threatens world peace.

The fighting in Damascus erupted at dawn and was focused in the northeast suburb of Harasta, while the army shelled the southern suburb of al-Hajar al-Aswad from several directions, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Regime forces had deployed in force in al-Hajar al-Aswad on Saturday, sparking clashes with rebels that left eight people dead, some of them cut down by sniper fire, the Britain-based Observatory said.

In Aleppo, a child was killed in shelling during the night in the southwest Fardoss neighborhood, the watchdog group said, adding that a media activist with a rebel group was killed elsewhere in the northern city.

Regime forces also pummeled the eastern districts of Hanano, Sakhur and Sukari, where two rebels were killed early yesterday in shelling.

Fighting also broke out between the army and rebels in Jamiyat al-Zahra in the west and in Izaa District, the Observatory said.

Violence has raged in Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital, since July 20, when regime forces launched an offensive in a bid to drive rebels out of the city.

In Homs Province, a man was killed in shelling in the town of Tal Kalakh, which borders Lebanon, while the town of Krak des Chevaliers also came under shelling, the Observatory said.

Another man was killed by sniper fire in Deir Ezzor, while clashes also broke out in the town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border.

The violence followed a bloody day in which 115 people — 71 civilians, 12 rebels and 32 soldiers — were killed nationwide in Syria, according to the Observatory, which gathers its information from a network of activists, medical workers and other sources on the ground.

Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, warned after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Saturday that the worsening conflict in Syria threatens both the region and the world at large.

“The crisis is dangerous and getting worse, and it is a threat to the Syrian people, the region and the world,” said the newly appointed Brahimi, who took over as international envoy to Syria earlier this month from former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

The Observatory estimates that more than 27,000 people have been killed since the uprising against al-Assad’s rule erupted in March last year. The UN puts the toll at 20,000.

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