Beirut: Two mortar bombs hit a government-held suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding more than 25, activists and state media said.
The state news agency Sana blamed the attack on terrorists”, the term commonly used to describe rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Al Assad.
No group claimed responsibility for the mortar fire, which Sana said had hit a municipality office and a school building in Jaramana, a pro-Al Assad suburb controlled by the army but surrounded by rebel-held areas.
Rebels have seized a ring of suburbs around southern and eastern Damascus, but have been struggling to maintain their hold in recent weeks.
Forces loyal to Al Assad have been trying to choke off rebel areas as the army pounds them with air and artillery strikes.
Opposition fighters have been stepping up mortar fire and assassination attacks on the heart of the capital. They have been trying for months to create a route into Damascus from Jaramana but have been repelled by local militias.
“We offer our full condolences to the victims and the families of Jaramana. We call on the Lord Almighty to accept them as martyrs,” the Saad bin Abada Al Khudraji batallion said.
“Our brigade loudly condemns these criminal acts, which have nothing to do with Islam in any way.”
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain but has a network of activists across Syria, said the death toll in Jaramana was likely to rise, as at least six people were in critical condition.