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Mortar shells slam into Syrian capital

Strike came as regime troops battled rebels in the district of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus

Published: Updated:

Mortar shells hit several areas of the Syrian capital Damascus on Saturday, with one shell landing near the Russian embassy without causing injuries, a monitoring group said.

The UK-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said regime troops battled rebels in the district of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, while opposition forces increased their siege of a military base in northwest Syria’s Idlib province, according to Agence France-Presse.

The mortar fire near the Ummayad area and the Russian embassy in the upscale Mazraa neighbourhood of Damascus did not result in any casualties, the Observatory reported.

The Britain-based group said that mortar shells had landed in the southern Shughur district and nearby Fahama, where a number of security buildings are located.

Damage

Syria’s state news agency SANA said that 17 mortar round attacks across the city had caused damage to a hospital as well as several cars and houses, although gave no death or injury toll for Saturday.

The escalation came as government troops stepped up a campaign against rebels on the outskirts of Damascus, particularly Eastern Ghouta which has been under regime siege for months.

The Observatory said rebels and regime troops were fighting in the town of Mleiha in the Eastern Ghouta area.

On Friday, regime warplanes carried out air strikes as soldiers tried to storm the town.

The fighting left 17 rebels dead on Friday, a day after 22 opposition fighters were killed in and around Mleiha, according to the Observatory.

‘Terrorist attacks’

In nearby Jaramana, SANA reported “terrorist mortar shell attacks” injured 13 people on Saturday.

The army siege of Eastern Ghouta has led to food and medical shortages, which the Observatory said had caused the death of a child on Friday.

In the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory reported regime air raids with explosives-packed “barrel bombs,” a day after 18 people were killed in air raids on the east of the city.

(With AFP)