Syrian jets level '100' buildings in Damascus

Government forces pound the capital as both sides trade blame for breaking ceasefire

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 4:50am

Syrian jets bombed parts of Damascus yesterday in what residents said were the capital’s fiercest air raids yet, underlining the collapse of a truce proposed by peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

“More than 100 buildings have been destroyed, some levelled to the ground,” said opposition activist Moaz al-Shami, who said he had witnessed three air raids in the northeastern suburb of Harasta alone. “Whole neighbourhoods are deserted.”

Syrian state TV said a “terrorist car bomb” had killed 10 people, including women and children, near a bakery in Jaramana – a southeastern district of Damascus controlled by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Each side blamed the other for breaking the four-day truce for the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Adha, which swiftly broke down.

“I am deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in South Korea, where he received the Seoul Peace Prize.

“This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed … the guns must fall silent.”

Brahimi, after meeting Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, voiced regret at the fate of the ceasefire, but said it would not deter him from pursuing peace efforts.

Although the Syrian military and several rebel groups accepted the plan to stop shooting over Eid ul-Adha, which ended yesterday, it failed to stem the bloodshed in a 19-month-old conflict that has already cost at least 32,000 lives.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition watchdog, 420 people have been killed since Friday.

Damascus residents reported air raids on the suburbs of Qaboun, Zamalka and Irbin overnight and yesterday which they said were the heaviest since jets and helicopters first bombarded pro opposition parts of the Syrian capital in August.

“Even electricity poles have been hit and they are lying among pools of water from burst pipes. There is no food, water, electricity or telephones,” Shami said. “Army snipers surround Harasta National Hospital and no one can move from one street to another without risking being shot.”

State media said insurgents never respected the truce.