Bombings, clashes as Syria opposition seeks arms
DAMASCUS – A deadly car bomb tore through a mainly Christian Damascus suburb on Monday while Syrian warplanes pounded Aleppo province.
The violence came as the head of the Red Cross travelled to Damascus on a humanitarian mission and CIA chief David Petraeus visited Turkey for talks expected to focus on the Syrian crisis.
A fighter jet also struck in nearby Al-Bab, killing at least 18 people, with more unaccounted for beneath the rubble of flattened homes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Doctors said nine people died.
The army also pounded Aleppo city, the Observatory said, more than five weeks after the start of what President Bashar al-Assad's regime warned would be "the mother of all battles" for the commercial hub.
A senior commander in charge of the regime offensive on Aleppo told AFP that the army would recapture the northern city from the rebel forces "within 10 days."
Some 3,000 troops were involved in the fight against about 7,000 "terrorists," said the general, adding that 2,000 of the insurgents had been killed since the assault on Aleppo was launched at the start of August.
The Observatory gave an updated toll of at least 138 people killed across Syria on Monday – 78 of them civilians – after 132 people died in violence the previous day.
The watchdog, which has a network of activists on the ground, also reported that a car bomb ripped through the mainly Christian and Druze suburb of Jaramana on Monday, killing at least five people.
Another 27 people were wounded in the blast, it said, adding that the attack struck the area of Al-Wehdeh on the edges of Jaramana.
The southeastern suburb was previously hit by a car bomb on August 28, when at least 27 people attending a funeral for two supporters of the Damascus regime were killed.
"There is an increase of the use of car bombs in Syria," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.AFP