Tag Archives: Damascus

Reports of explosions heard in Damascus, Syria as Trump announces airstrikes

Reports of explosions heard in Damascus, Syria as Trump announces airstrikesCBS News foreign correspondent Seth Doane is the only network correspondent inside Damascus, Syria. He reports that as President Trump was speaking, he heard "rumbling" that appeared to be airstrikes.



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Night Scope Video Shows Missiles Over Damascus

Night Scope Video Shows Missiles Over DamascusThe Syrian Central Military Media released a video showing missiles over the city of Damascus during the airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain. (April 14)



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IS kills 36 Syria troops in surprise attack on Damascus: monitor

IS kills 36 Syria troops in surprise attack on Damascus: monitorA monitor said Tuesday three dozen pro-government fighters were killed in a district of Syria’s capital as Islamic State jihadists took control of it in a surprise nighttime attack. There was no immediate comment from the government on the report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which could not provide casualty figures for the jihadists. “IS took full control of Qadam, and 36 government troops and loyalist fighters have been killed,” the Britain-based monitoring group said.



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Rebel rocket fire kills 35 in Damascus suburb

Rebel rocket fire kills 35 in Damascus suburbA rocket killed 35 people in a Damascus shopping district Tuesday, in one of the deadliest rebel attacks on the Syrian capital, as fire in the other direction left dozens of civilians dead in an opposition stronghold. The rocket attack came as heavy bombardment killed 38 civilians in the shrinking rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus. State media said the opposition fire hit the area of Jaramana, which residents said was full of shoppers — including some buying presents ahead of Mother’s Day.



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Syrian troops cut besieged Damascus suburb in three after major gains

Syrian troops cut besieged Damascus suburb in three after major gainsBashar al-Assad’s troops have made major gains in Eastern Ghouta, splitting the enclave in three, as a group of rebels left in the first evacuation deal. The advancements separate the largest town of Douma from the rest of the opposition pocket and trapping civilians in increasingly shrinking territory. As part of a divide-and-conquer strategy, Syrian troops seized control of the road linking Douma with the town of Harasta further west, and also captured the town of Misraba. The government now controls more of Eastern Ghouta – an estimated 40 per cent – than at any time since they besieged the area five years ago. Children gather wood in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus Credit: Reuters Jaish al-Islam, one of the dominant rebel groups in the Damascus suburb, agreed to evacuate prisoners from an Islamist rebel group aligned to al-Qaeda that they had been holding. The extremist militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are excluded from the yet-to-be-implemented UN ceasefire and their presence provided a justification for the government bombardment of the area. Eastern Ghouta is controlled by a complex patchwork of rebels including Jaish al-Islam and Failaq al-Rahman, which have distanced themselves from HTS. Rebels evacuated from the Eastern Ghouta enclave on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, riding on a bus through the al-Wafideen crossing Credit: SANA The some 13 fighters and their families were sent to a town in central Hama province controlled by HTS. A humanitarian corridor was set up for civilians by the Syrian government and its Russian ally last week, but so far few have left. A UN official who accompanied a recent relief convoy into the pocket said both the regime and the rebels were preventing civilians from leaving. Sajjad Malik, the UN Refugee Agency’s representative to Syria, said snipers from opposition groups positioned near the corridor, and government air strikes, were stopping people escaping the escalating violence. “They said, ‘These guys are preventing us’ ” while pointing at nearby rebel fighters, Mr Malik said. A Syrian girl sits on the floor as United Nations' aid convoy enters the Douma town of Eastern Ghouta Credit: Getty “They want out — either the bombing to stop, or to get out. But reach safety where?” he said in an interview in Beirut. “We are getting to a point where there is literally no flight option. What worse situation could there be?” The UN convoy was the first to reach the some 400,000 residents of Eastern Ghouta since the government began its offensive there in mid-February. Families have been living in their basement to avoid the air strikes, leaving only to try to find food. Some 1,000 have been killed and as many as 3,000 injured in the last three weeks. “I’ve never seen such scared faces in my life that I’ve seen there,” Mr Malik added. “You can see it in their eyes, you can see it in their expressions. But they’re also desperate for someone to come and help them out.” He said the town was marked by the stench of death, with bodies lying unclaimed in the rubble.



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Satellite images show 'new Iranian base' outside Damascus to house missiles capable of hitting Israel

Satellite images show 'new Iranian base' outside Damascus to house missiles capable of hitting IsraelSatellite images reportedly show Iran has established a base outside of Damascus to house missiles capable of hitting Israel, crossing a “red line” for the Israeli government as it struggles to stop Iranian entrenchment in Syria. Images from the Israeli satellite firm ImageSat International appear to show a pair of newly built missile hangars on the base, which strongly resemble hangars at another Iranian compound that Israel bombed last year. The new base, located around eight miles north-west of Damascus, is being run by the Quds Force, the expeditionary arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has spearheaded Iran’s involvement in Syria, according to Fox News. If the base is confirmed to hold Iranian missiles, its presence will likely increase the tensions between arch rivals Israel and Iran over Syria, which have been growing sharply in recent months. Those tensions erupted in early February when Israel shot down an Iranian drone that entered its airspace from Syria and in turn lost one of its F-16 fighter jets to a Syrian regime anti-aircraft missiles. Iran's presence in Syria Western diplomats and the UN have repeatedly warned such skirmishes could easily erupt into a devastating full-blown conflict, potentially pitting Israel against Iran and its allies in both Lebanon and Syria.  Israel has largely stayed out of the war that has raged in Syria for the past seven years, but it has laid down a series of what it calls “red lines” aimed mainly at limiting the presence in Syria of both Iran and its proxy group Hizbollah. One of those red lines is to prevent Iran from using its alliance with the Assad regime to establish any permanent military bases in Syria.  "Iran continues to try to cross those red lines," said Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, at the Munich security conference. “Israel will not allow the Iranian regime to put a noose of terror around our neck.” Last December Israeli jets and ground missiles struck an alleged Iranian base in the Syrian city of al-Qiswah, eight miles south of Damascus. Satellite images taken of the al-Qiswah facility before it was destroyed show a white hangar around 30 metres long and 20m wide.  ImageSat International said its satellites showed a pair of similar hangars at the newly spotted base at Jabal ash Sharqi, northwest of Damascus. Satellite images show hangars at the new base (right) which appear similar to one at a base attacked by Israel in December (left) Credit: ImageSat International The Israeli government’s policy is usually to neither confirm nor deny its strikes in Syria and senior officials rarely talk openly about its military activities against Iran and Hizbollah.    Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister, played down reports of the new base on Wednesday. “We are listening and following the events. We will also act in the international arena to achieve everything possible,” he said.  Maps published by the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, show Iran has dozens of long-term military facilities across Syria, ranging from headquarters to training facilities to drone bases.  While Israel has carried out periodic strikes against the most significant facilities, it has been unable to stop the proliferation of Iranian bases.  Repeated diplomatic efforts by Mr Netanyahu to try to convince Russian leader Vladimir Putin to rein in Iran's expansion in Syria have so far failed to win over the Kremlin. “I don’t think Israel has a grand vision of how it’s going to prevent Iran from consolidating its presence in Syria,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy. “Israel has tactical measures that can delay the Iranian entrenchment but on a strategic level they are trying to talk to the Russians and it’s not working.” Benjamin Netanyahu (left) has tried unsuccessfully to convince Vladimir Putin (right) to rein in Iran in Syria Credit: Photo by Mikhail Metzel\\TASS via Getty Images A senior former Israeli air force commander said that in the absence of a political agreement with Russia on limiting Iran’s presence in Syria, Israel’s military would use air strikes try to “raise the cost” to Iran.  “An attack aimed at Israel from Iran would be very inefficient and Israel would have a long time to prepare. But an attack from Syria would be a different ball game because they are dramatically closer,” the commander said.    Iran’s arming of Hizbollah in Lebanon and its establishment of bases in Syria is usually presented by Israel as evidence of Iran’s determination to wipe out the Jewish state.  Iran regularly makes provocative anti-Semitic statements about Israel and at times even paints its missiles with Hebrew letters threatening Israel’s destruction. But many analysts believe that beneath the bluster, Iran is not eager for a war with Israel’s superior military and is focused mainly on trying to discourage attacks on its own territory by either Israel or the US.   “It’s more of a mechanism of deterence, especially at a time when Iran is uncertain of the intentions of the current US administration. For them having a presence in Lebanon and Syria is both offensive and defensive,” said Holly Dagres, the curator of the Iranist newsletter.



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Iran says Damascus suburbs assault to continue as fighting rages

Iran says Damascus suburbs assault to continue as fighting ragesIran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, as ground fighting raged on there in defiance of a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country. Turkey, too, said its military operations in another theater of war in the north of Syria would not be affected by the unanimous Security Council vote demanding the truce to allow for aid access and medical evacuations. Anti-government rebels said they clashed with pro-government forces near Damascus on Sunday, as rescuers and residents said warplanes struck some towns in the eastern Ghouta pocket.



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Damascus suburb strikes kill scores, UN votes for cease-fire

Damascus suburb strikes kill scores, UN votes for cease-fireBEIRUT (AP) — A new wave of airstrikes and shelling on eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus left at least 22 people dead and dozens wounded Saturday, raising the death toll of a week of bombing in the area to 500, as the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria.



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More than 100 killed in Syria assault on Damascus suburb

More than 100 killed in Syria assault on Damascus suburbBEIRUT (AP) — Intense Syrian government shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held Damascus suburbs killed nearly 130 people in two days, marking some of the deadliest bombardment of the rebellious region in three years, a monitoring group and paramedics said Tuesday.



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Damascus warns Israel of 'more surprises' in Syria

Damascus warns Israel of 'more surprises' in SyriaDAMASCUS/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will face “more surprises” should it again attack Syrian territory, Damascus said on Tuesday, after Syria’s air defenses shot down an advanced Israeli warplane during the fiercest flare-up between the old foes in 36 years. The F-16 jet was hit over northern Israel on Saturday as it returned from a raid on a Syrian position blamed for launching an Iranian-made drone across the border. Iran is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s near seven-year civil war.



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