First time in Syrian conflict tanks have rolled into Damascus
'All weapons will be used to finish off terrorists
For the first time in the 16-month long Syrian uprising, tanks have
rolled into the nation's capitol of Damascus, sparking fears of a new
massacre by government forces. One Syrian government official vows that
"all weapons will be used to finish off terrorists" by this weekend.
'The army stormed the Qaboon district with a large number of tanks,' Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 'This is the first time that tanks have entered a Damascus district,' Rahman said.
"The army stormed the Qaboon district with a large number of tanks," Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "This is the first time that tanks have entered a Damascus district," Rahman said.
Hostilities broke out in Damascus after a bomb struck at the heart of Syria's senior command, killing at least three of President Bashar al-Assad's top brass. A security source speaking on the condition of anonymity says that the army will show no restraint in its operations.
"These extremely violent clashes should continue in the next 48 hours to cleanse Damascus of terrorists by the time Ramadan begins" the source said, in reference to Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
The rebel Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for the attack.
"After the attack, [the army] has decided to use all the weapons in its possession to finish the terrorists off," the security source said.
Opposition fighters attacked the main police headquarters in Damascus this week. "Gunfire has been intense for the past hour. It is now dying down but the streets around the police command remain empty," a resident of Qanawat, an old central district where the Damascus Province Police Headquarters is located, told Reuters by phone.
Columns of black smoke rose have been seen over Damascus as troops shelled Qaboon and Barzeh, while fighting raged in al-Midan and Zahira and loud explosions were heard in Mashrou-Dumar, all districts in the nation's capitol.
Violence also erupted in Ikhlas neighborhood near the government headquarters after rebels attacked forces loyal to Assad, who have deployed armored vehicles, attack helicopters and increased roadblocks across the city.
Rebels responded by firing rocket-propelled grenades at a police station in the Jdeidet Artouz area, killing at least five officers.
More than 200 people, chiefly civilians, were killed on Wednesday, including 38 in Damascus, where rebels are pressing an all-out offensive.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, government, Damascus, rebels, fighting
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