AMMAN/ALEPPO: Syrian fighter planes made rare sorties on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing at least 60 people in its eastern suburbs, the same day a Syrian military helicopter crashed while under rebel fire, activists said.
They said aerial attacks by at least two fighter planes late yesterday had targeted the neighborhood of Zemalka and the more easterly suburb of Saqba where Free Syrian Army fighters had attacked and overrun several army roadblocks earlier in the day. Both suburbs are poor and inhabited predominantly by Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority of Syria’s population and have been at the forefront of fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. Video footage seen by a Reuters reporter of the aftermath of an attack by one of the planes firing rockets at an apartment building showed people running away with their children and the six-storey building collapsed like an accordion.
Opposition activists said earlier at least 62 people had been killed in an assault on suburbs of Damascus yesterday, some summarily executed, a day after they accused Assad’s troops and sectarian militia of massacring hundreds of people in the neighboring town of Daraya. At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Daraya killings as ‘an appalling and brutal crime’ that should be independently investigated immediately. Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, preparing to make his debut on the stage of world diplomacy, called on Monday for Assad’s allies to help lever the Syrian leader out of power.
Bomb at funeral claims seven
BEIRUT: Seven people were killed and scores were wounded when a car bomb exploded on Tuesday at a funeral in Damascus, witnesses said, in an attack that an activist group said had targeted supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. They said the bomb exploded at the entrance to a Druze cemetery in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus, hitting the funeral procession of two men killed in bombings a day earlier. One witness counted seven bodies on the street after the blast, and said as many as 150 people were wounded. Another said she saw charred bodies including children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based opposition body, said the two men being buried on Tuesday were supporters of Assad, who is fighting to crush a 17-month-old uprising against his rule. —