Syria warplanes bomb Damascus


Syrian warplanes are pounding opposition strongholds around Damascus and in the north, activists said today, as president Bashar Assad’s regime intensifies air strikes against rebels seeking to topple him.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers reports from a network of activists, said government jets carried out five strikes this morning in the eastern Ghouta district, a rebel stronghold close to the capital.

Three air strikes also hit the rebel-held city of Maaret al-Numan, which straddles a key supply route from Damascus to Aleppo in the north.

No casualties were reported in today’s strikes, the observatory said.

However, at least 185 people were killed yesterday, pushing the total death toll from the relentless fighting in Syria to more than 36,000, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the group’s president.

Separately, a bomb killed at least seven people today near a Shia shrine in a suburb of Damascus, opposition activists said.

The semi-official Addounia television said there were casualties in the explosion in the Sayeda Zainab district. Another bomb in the area was defused, the station said.