Syrian capital hit by violence flare-up
A flare-up of violence hit the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday, as the ongoing conflict has engulfed most parts of the country and given no sign of backing down, Xinhua reported.
At least nine people were killed and more than 23 injured when a mortar shell fired by armed men struck a communal bus in the Jaramana suburb of Damascus Saturday evening, local media said.
The shell slammed into the bus at the entrances of Jaramana, a suburb dominated by Druz and Christians.
Syrian pro-government al-Ekbaria TV said the mortar attack was followed by the launching of a hand-made missile on the same area without causing casualties.
Several blasts have rocked Jaramana over the past few months, in a stark sign of how Syria's conflict is rapidly evolving. The Syrian government accuses armed terrorists playing out a foreign conspiracy of being behind the intensifying violence.
Meanwhile, the state-run SANA news agency said another mortar shell landed in the parking lot of the ministry of agriculture in Damascus, causing only material damage with no casualties.
Quoting an interior ministry official, SANA said the mortar shell struck a gas tanker in the ministry's garage, setting it ablaze and greatly damaging parked cars.
Also, the pro-government Sham FM radio said armed men fired multiple mortars at the Shagour district in Damascus late Saturday, but stopped short of giving further details.
Pro-government media reports also said shell bombs struck the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk on Saturday, as an amateur video footage appeared online claiming to show a destroyed residential building in the area.
On the opposition side, activists reported clashes and government troops' shelling on hotspots in the southern countryside of Damascus, reporting many deaths due to the ongoing violence.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said intense clashes are taking place in Deir al-Zour, mainly in Albu- Kamal area on the border with Iraq.
The observatory said the rebels are trying to take control of the Hamadan military airport in the area, which, it said, is the last bastion of government troops in Albu-Kamal.
The Local Coordination Committees, an activists' network, placed the death toll of Saturday's violence at 111.
The opposition's accounts, based on tallies by unknown parties, are impossible of being checked independently.