Military Airport Near Syrian Capital Hit By Explosion

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Syria’s civil war continues as Syrian state television and residents report that an explosion has shaken a Damascus neighbourhood that is home to several embassies and a military airport.

The explosion took place on Sunday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an anti-government rights watchdog, reported, citing residents and activists on the ground in Damascus.

The UK-based SOHR said a car bomb detonated at a checkpoint near the military airport in the western neighbourhood of Mezzeh. There were reports of casualties, but no confirmation on the number of those affected.

Ambulances were seen rushing to the area.

State controlled al-Ikhbariya Television said the explosion “resulted from an attempt to target the Mezze military airport”.

Activists said Assad’s forces cut off roads leading to the airport following the blast.

The compound, which is manned by Republican Guards, Special Forces and Airforce Intelligence, serves as a private airport for the family of President Bashar al-Assad. Since the uprising, it has been used as an artillery and rocket base to target rebellious neighbourhoods on the edge of the capital.

The media office of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group of armed rebels, confirmed that an explosion had targeted the military airport.

Earlier on Sunday, government forces shelled Ghouta, on the eastern outskirts of the capital. Activist videos also showed the Syrian army bombing the al-Asali district of Damascus, and intense fighting in al-Rastan in Homs.

In the village of Hatla, in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, amatuer video that emerged on Sunday showed armed fighters blowing up a Shia mosque. In a battle last week, more than 60 Shia fighters and civilians had been killed in violence between rebels and pro-government militias. [Al Jazeera]


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