Syrian rebels fire mortar shells into Damascus neighbourhoods

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Rebels entrenched in an eastern suburb of Damascus fired volleys of mortar shells that slammed into neighbourhoods of the Syrian capital on Sunday, killing one child and wounding at least three people, Syria's state-run news agency and residents said.

See Full Article

The suburb known as Eastern Ghouta is held by rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad. The fighters often launch mortars into Damascus, Assad's seat of power.

Sunday's barrage was particularly strong and sustained, shaking residents out of bed in the early morning as shells struck residential districts.

SANA said a child was killed and three people wounded, and said the shells caused material damage to cars and buildings.

The government responded with airstrikes and missiles on suspected rebel outposts in Eastern Ghouta.

Opposition activists said at least 13 people were killed in Douma and Saqba, which are part of the same sprawling suburb.

The shelling came as the United Nations humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien, was visiting Damascus to review humanitarian work and assess the impact on civilians of the intensified fighting and military operations.

Following a meeting with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, O'Brien said he was pursuing efforts to have humanitarian aid reach all Syrian people. Al-Moallem, according to SANA, emphasized the need for reconciliation and local truces to help in that regard.

More than 250,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Syria's nearly five-year old conflict, which has left the country divided and devastated.

Islamic extremists control roughly half the country, including the Islamic State group and its rival, the al-Qaida branch in Syria known as the Nusra Front.

Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani said in rare comments aired late Saturday that local truces between the Syrian government and rebels only benefit the government. He criticized last week's deal in the Homs neighbourhood of Waer, which saw a few hundred insurgents pull out of the district in return for a cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian aid. Nusra Front fighters and other hardcore rebels were among those who evacuated Waer after rejecting the cease-fire deal.

"Truces are the first step to surrender," al-Golani said, speaking to a small group of local and loyalist journalists that was aired on the opposition Orient TV.

He also criticized as "unacceptable" a meeting of opposition factions held this week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during which a framework for taking part in proposed peace negotiations with the government was reached.

He claimed the international community's goal is to incorporate the armed opposition with the government forces, keeping Assad as president, as a prelude to fighting extremist factions.

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Bans on campfires, backcountry travel lifted in B.C. as wildfire risk drops

    Canada News CTV News
    WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. -- Restrictions on travel to British Columbia's backcountry and campfires are slowly being lifted in some parts of the province as improved conditions have lowered the wildfire risk. Campfires are once again allowed in most areas of the Prince George and northwest fire centres while officials from the BC Wildfire Service say a ban prohibiting access to the backcountry in the Cariboo region will also be rescinded by the end of the day. Source
  • Charlottesville covers Confederate statues in black

    World News CTV News
    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Workers in Charlottesville draped giant black covers over two statues of Confederate generals on Wednesday to symbolize the city's mourning for a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally. The work began around 1 p.m. Source
  • U.S. rock band Allah-Las' Rotterdam show cancelled due to threat

    World News CBC News
    A bus with Spanish licence plates and containing gas bottles was found near a concert hall in Rotterdam, where a rock concert was cancelled earlier Wednesday due to a threat, the Dutch port city's mayor said. Source
  • Striking Pearson ground crew workers will vote on a new offer tonight: union

    Canada News CBC News
    Striking ground crew workers at Canada's busiest airport are voting Wednesday on whether to accept a new contract offer and potentially end a four-week-long work stoppage. About 700 cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, and other ground crew workers employed by Swissport at Toronto's Pearson International Airport have been on strike since late July. Source
  • Halifax cab driver guilty of sexual assault

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A Halifax cab driver has been convicted of sexually assaulting a female passenger last July. Saher Hamdan sexually assaulted a young woman as she waited to pay her fare on July 15, 2016. Source
  • Piglets saved in barn fire made into sausages for firefighters who rescued them

    World News Toronto Sun
    A number of piglets in England had their bacon saved from a barn fire. But months later, they were turned into organic sausages and given to the firefighters who saved them. Farmer Rachel Rivers promised the firefighters some sausages made from the 18 rescued piglets as a token of thanks after her barn went up in flames in February. Source
  • Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy fired for praying after games loses appeal

    World News Toronto Sun
    SEATTLE — A Washington state high school football coach took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games, and he’s not entitled to immediately get his job back, a federal appeals court said Wednesday. Source
  • 5 things the federal government is doing about the influx of border crossers

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Nearly 7,000 people have crossed illegally into Canada in the last six weeks, most intent on filing for refugee status. The surge this summer caps seven months of near-steady increases in the number of people entering into Canada between official border crossings to seek asylum. Source
  • Terror threat leads to cancellation of Allah-Las show in Rotterdam

    World News CTV News
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A rock music venue in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam says it has cancelled a concert by American group Allah-Las because of a "terror threat." Concert organizer Rotown said on Twitter that Wednesday night's concert at the Maassilo venue was cancelled on orders of police. Source
  • Rock band Allah-Las' Rotterdam show cancelled due to 'terror threat'

    World News CTV News
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A concert in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam by American rock group Allah-Las was cancelled Wednesday night because of a "terror threat," police said in a statement. "Police took this information seriously enough that after discussion with organizers it was decided to cancel the event," the Rotterdam police statement said. Source