BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces bombarded three districts of Damascus with helicopter gunships on Sunday, witnesses said, clawing back territory from rebels a week after the fighters launched what they called a final battle for the capital.
Fighting also raged around the main intelligence headquarters in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo — the country’s main commercial and industrial hub — and in Deir al-Zor on the Euprhates river, the largest city in the east.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops backed by helicopters and tanks have struck back in Damascus against rebel fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle.
Assad’s forces, who also pushed into a rebel-held district in the northerly commercial hub of Aleppo on Saturday, targeted pockets of lightly armed rebels, who moved about the streets on foot and attacked security installations and roadblocks.
BAB AL-HAWA, Syria/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian government forces pounded rebels in Damascus overnight, battling to reverse opposition gains in the aftermath of the assassination of President Bashar al-Assad’s security chiefs.
Army helicopters and tanks aimed rockets, machineguns and mortars at pockets of rebel fighters who have infiltrated the capital this week in an operation they call “Damascus Volcano”.
BAB AL-HAWA, Syria/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian army helicopters pounded Damascus with rockets and heavy machine guns overnight, and tanks bombarded the capital from the ring road, to try to reverse relentless gains by rebels since much of President Bashar al-Assad’s entourage was assassinated.
The unprecedented rebel momentum of the past few days has fighters boasting that Assad’s grip is being pried from the country his family has ruled since his father seized power in a coup 42 years ago. But he remains a fearsome foe.
AMMAN/CILVEGOZU, Turkey (Reuters) – Rebels seized control of sections of Syria’s international borders and torched the main police headquarters in the heart of old Damascus, advancing relentlessly after the assassination of Bashar al-Assad’s closest lieutenants.
The battle for parts of the capital raged into the early hours of Friday, with corpses piled in the streets. In some neighborhoods residents said there were signs the government’s presence was diminishing.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels kept up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad following the assassination of three top lieutenants, fighting loyalist troops within sight of the presidential palace and near government headquarters, residents said on Thursday.
An official source said the president, who has made no statement or public appearance since Wednesday’s stunning bomb attack on a crisis meeting of defense and security chiefs, was still commanding operations from his Damascus office.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – A bomber killed three of Bashar al-Assad’s top military officials on Wednesday – including his powerful brother-in-law – in a devastating blow to the Syrian leader’s inner circle as rebels closed in vowing to “liberate” the capital.
Slain brother-in-law Assef Shawkat was one of the principle figures in the tight, clan-based ruling elite that has been battling to put down a 16-month rebellion against four decades of rule by Assad and his father.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Maher al-Assad asked his own grade-school daughter what she had planned to do in class that day. The girl answered her father with trademark fierceness of Syria’s ruling family.
“Break heads, is what she answered him,” his sister-in-law Majd Jadan told Reuters from exile in the United States. “He even taught his little kids brutality.”
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria’s defense minister was killed in a bomb attack on a high level security meeting in Damascus on Wednesday, state television said, as the revolt against Bashar al-Assad struck at the heart of the president’s inner circle.
State television said Defense Minister Daoud Rajha was killed in a “terrorist bombing”.
AMMAN (Reuters) – The revolt against President Bashar al-Assad came within sight of his presidential palace on Wednesday as fighting erupted in major Damascus neighborhoods for a fourth day.
An army barracks near the “palace of the people”, a huge Soviet style complex overlooking the sprawling capital from the western district of Dummar, came under rebel fire around 7.30 a.m. (0430 GMT), activists and a resident said.