Syrian jets hit targets inside Damascus for first time

Regime air raids strike targets inside Syrian capital for first time after assassination

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 3:53am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 3:53am

A Syrian air force general was assassinated in Damascus as a Syrian fighter jet reportedly hit targets inside the capital for the first time.

"As part of their campaign to target national personalities and scientists, armed terrorist groups assassinated Air Force General Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi in the Damascus district of Rukn al-Din," state television said, using the regime term for armed rebels.

The general was a member of the Syrian Air Force command. He was shot dead on Monday evening as he left a friend's home.

News of the killing came after regime warplanes launched their heaviest air strikes to date, with more than 60 raids carried out on Monday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said the campaign continued yesterday with targets inside Damascus being hit by a fighter jet for the first time.

The warplane dropped four bombs on the eastern neighbourhood of Jobar, near the opposition-held suburb of Zamalka, where rebels were in fierce clashes with regime troops.

Only helicopter gunships had previously been used to strafe areas inside the capital, said the Observatory's director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

Yesterday also saw clashes between rebels and troops backed by Palestinian fighters at the Yarmuk Palestinian camp, home to 148,500 people, near Damascus.

Anwar Raja, of the pro-regime Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said its forces clashed for about an hour with rebels trying to infiltrate the camp.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said yesterday that the international community's failure to halt the fighting was making it complicit in the violence.

"What is happening in Syria is not a civil war but a war of extermination against the Syrian people," he told Al-Jazeera television.

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was due in China after visiting Moscow on Monday and saying the situation in Syria "is bad and getting worse".