A bomb attack killed at least 16 people southwest of Syria’s capital of Damascus. More than 25 people were wounded in the attack, including women and some children. The car bomb exploded about 17 miles southwest of Damascus in the town of Qatana, said reports from the state media.
The news agency SANA reported after the explosion that among the dead were seven children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is an anti-government rights group and based in the UK, reported earlier that a huge explosion had taken place outside a housing complex for the army in Qatana. The dead were all civilians, at least two were women, and seven were children.
There was also fighting taking place in a number of suburbs around Damascus between troops from the government and the rebels who are seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The suburbs where there is fighting going on include Arbeen, Harasta and Daraya. Government jets were using barrel bombs of TNT to strike rebel bases in those area, said a rebel leader.
On Wednesday, officials from the U.S. said that President al-Assad’s government has started to us barrel bombs and Scud missiles against the rebels.
An upswing in attacks by the rebels in Damascus on state buildings prompted government authorities to increase security around their vital facilities, said activists.
The deputy foreign minister of Russia said Thursday that the president of Syria’s hold on power in the country was beginning to loosen and the rebels might succeed in its goal to topple the government. Those remarks made by Mikhail Bogdanov are the first acknowledgement from any official from Russia that al-Assad could lose what has now become a civil war.