In Focus | Syria

Palestinian camp residents flee clashes

Syrian jets raid eastern outskirts of Damascus to quash rebellion

  • AFP
  • Published: 14:34 December 17, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • A damaged mosque is seen after what activists said was a Syrian Air Force fighter jet operated by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad fired missiles on Darya near Damascus on Sunday.

Beirut: Residents of a Palestinian camp in Damascus were fleeing on Monday amid fresh clashes, as Syrian warplanes raided the eastern outskirts of the city to try to quash the rebellion in the capital, a watchdog said.

Clashes renewed Monday in the Yarmuk refugee camp in southern Damascus between pro-regime Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and rebels fighting President Bashar Al Assad’s forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

On Sunday air strikes on the camp by regime jets killed eight civilians, the Observatory said. Some reports, however, put the toll as 25 dead.

Residents and the Britain-based Observatory said people in the camp were fleeing en masse for other parts of Damascus, while others scrambled to find safety elsewhere.

One resident, Essam, said he was unable to return home on Sunday to Yarmuk “because of the fighting that took place in most of the streets and the snipers”.

He said he spent the night in his office, and on Monday took his wife and children to stay with relatives near Damascus.

Another resident reported hearing the sound of a MiG warplane flying over the camp on Monday.

East of the capital, warplanes attacked the Eastern Ghuta region, while smoke was seen rising from nearby Zamalka, which was also raided by jets, the Observatory said.

Military reinforcements were seen travelling from Mazzeh military airport west of Damascus to Daraya farther south.

The scene of the bloodiest massacre in the 21-month conflict, Daraya has been under siege by the army for a month and suffered ongoing shelling by troops trying to enter the rebel stronghold.

The Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists on the ground, said the army had begun firing rockets at Daraya and nearby Moadamiyat Al Sham.

In the central province of Homs, heavy fighting erupted in Halfaya as rebels attacked army checkpoints and troops shelled the town, where 23 people, mostly civilians, died in clashes and bombardments on Sunday, the Observatory said.

The Observatory also reported bombardments on the nearby town of Kfar Zeita, where three children were killed in air raids on Sunday.

In Syria’s second city Aleppo, beset by deadly urban combat for five months, clashes erupted near a military headquarters in the Zahraa neighbourhood in the northwest and in districts throughout the city, it said.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground in compiling its tolls, said 160 people were killed nationwide on Sunday, among them 85 civilians.

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