#Syria, Homs Jobar Haaaaam warplanes bombed the neighborhood
#Syria, Toxic materials used in the new East Ghouta
The aircraft system offender threw white toxic substances spread through moments in the skies of the region
#Eastern Ghouta #Damascus #Syria: smoke rising from the Eastern Ghouta areas of Damascus as a result of…..
#Syria, Indiscriminate bombing on Haffeh. Shooting rockets like crazy! (Appears to be a leaked video - actual date unknown, but would seem to be from the summer)
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria was convulsed by one of the most violent days in months on Monday, with heavy fighting reported aroundPalestinian neighborhoods in southern Damascus, at least two car-bomb explosions and strikes by government aircraft on numerous rebel targets.
Sharply conflicting accounts emerged from the government and the rebels on the toll from a car bombing near the central city of Hama, with the rebels reporting dozens of soldiers dead and the government saying just two civilians were killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain with a network of contacts inside Syria, said that Jabhet al-Nusra, a jihadist organization, and other rebel groups in the region collaborated in a suicide car bombing of a government checkpoint in a village near Hama, killing at least 50 soldiers.
“They targeted one of the biggest checkpoints in the region. It’s a big building where the regime forces were headquartered,” said Ahmad Raadoun, a member of the Free Syrian Army in the Hama suburbs, who was reached via Skype.
Mr. Raadoun, who said he was about 20 miles from the village of Ziyara, where the attack took place, said the bomb caused extensive casualties and other damage in what he described as a “big operation.”
The official news agency, SANA, said the explosion, outside a government building called the Rural Development Center, was orchestrated by terrorist groups and left 2 civilians dead and 10 wounded. The government has repeatedly labeled opposition groups seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad as terrorist organizations.
The reasons for such divergent accounts could not be immediately ascertained.
Checkpoints in rural areas often serve as rudimentary bases for the government, with large numbers of men and matériel stationed in them to carry the fight across the province.
Another car bombing was reported in Mazzeh 86, a Damascus neighborhood on the slopes below the presidential palace, home to many members of the security forces. The forces are dominated by members of Mr. Assad’s Alawite minority, which controls the country.
The Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for that attack, saying in a statement that its fighters had targeted officers as well as members of the armed militias who fight for the government. The statement, posted on Facebook, claimed a large number of casualties but did not give any figures.
The Syrian Observatory said the bomb, which it described as a booby-trapped car that exploded in Bride Square, killed 5 people and wounded more than 30, some of them critically.
Pictures posted on Facebook showed a large column of smoke rising from the area.
Damascus residents reached by telephone said that they were trying to flee the heavy fighting, but that there was so much going on in every direction that they did not quite know where to run.
“There is very, very intense shelling on southern Damascus right now,” said an activist reached by Skype who goes by Abu Qays al-Shami. At least 10 people were killed as government helicopters and tanks blasted the area, he said.
Residents said the fighting had erupted in and around the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus, the center of Palestinian life in Syria for decades. Many Palestinians have sided with the nearly 20-month-old anti-Assad uprising, but the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a splinter Palestinian group long supported by the government, still backs Mr. Assad. The fighting erupted between the organization and government opponents.
Elsewhere in southern Damascus, government helicopters were shelling the restive neighborhood of Hajjar al-Aswad, a target of frequent attacks in recent weeks, according to the Local Coordinating Committees, an anti-Assad activist group that keeps track of casualties. SANA said five people were killed in Yarmouk, including a woman and three children, when a mortar shell hit a public minibus. The agency blamed terrorist organizations.
In its daily roundup of violence around the country, SANA also said that government forces clashed with opposition groups in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zour and in Aleppo, the northern city that has been a battleground since midsummer.
Activist organizations reported a number of airstrikes around the country.
One extremely graphic video posted from the village of Kafrnabel, near Idlib, shows bloodied victims dumped into a truck in the aftermath of what was described as an aerial assault. A shot of the main street shows flames leaping from vehicles and residents running around in panic. At least five men and one woman died, the Syrian Observatory said, but more victims were believed buried under the rubble. Video accounts cannot be independently confirmed.
Jordan’s announcement that it has foiled an al Qaeda plot to bomb the capital highlights the threat to Washington’s ally from Islamist fighters hardened by conflict in neighbouring Syria, and the danger of Damascus trying to export its crisis.
The kingdom is no stranger to turmoil. For decades it has navigated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its western border and more recently bloodshed in Iraq to the east, which spilled over to Jordan with hotel bombings in Amman seven years ago.
But the Syrian civil war could pose the gravest threat yet to Jordan’s pro-Western King Abdullah, whether or not rebel fighters succeed in toppling President Bashar al-Assad after 42 years of Assad family rule.
The overthrow of Assad by Sunni Muslim rebels could embolden hardline Sunni Islamists in Jordan, while a weakened but still fighting Assad may try to deflect pressure by spreading the conflict to his neighbours, Jordanian politicians say.
Mahmoud Kharabsheh, a prominent politician with an intelligence background, says Syria’s role in letting al Qaeda fighters head to Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion has reinforced fears that Damascus could try the same in Jordan.
“The Syrian regime will not leave a stone unturned to destabilise the kingdom. The Syrian regime is determined to export its crisis to neighbouring countries to … destabilise our security,” said Kharabsheh, a member of the outgoing Jordanian parliament.
At the height of the bloodshed in Iraq, Damascus emptied its prisons of many radical Islamists and let them cross the border to fight the Western forces. This allowed Assad’s secular government to get rid of domestic Islamist opponents, at least temporarily, and indirectly pin down forces of its U.S. enemies.
Those radicals have returned home to fight Assad, and have been joined by fellow Islamists from Jordan.
Kharabsheh said the Syrian government might again try to use its ideological opposite, al Qaeda, as it struggles for survival. “They are two imminent dangers and their interests could easily coincide to destabilise Jordan,” he said.
Scores of Syrians had been arrested in recent months after gathering information and acting as agents provocateurs in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp, which houses tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled their country, he added.
Then on Oct. 21, Jordan state TV said intelligence services had foiled the plot by an al Qaeda-linked cell to bomb shopping centres and assassinate Western diplomats in Amman, using weapons and explosives smuggled from Syria..
Although some expressed scepticism about the threat posed by 11 al Qaeda suspects who were arrested – including teenagers and young students – there is little dispute that the Syrian conflict has galvanised Jordan’s jihadists.
HISTORY OF ENMITY
Despite urging Assad to step down, Jordan has tried to accommodate the Syrian authorities, fearing any overt intervention would revive tensions with Damascus. That hostility reached a peak in 1981 when Syria was accused of being behind a failed assassination attempt on Jordan’s prime minister and Amman harboured the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Since the latest conflict broke out, Jordan has shown restraint in dealing with Syrian gun and mortar fire across its borders, with Amman trying to insulate itself from the military fallout, according to diplomats and politicians.
This contrasts with Turkey, whose forces have repeatedly fired on Syria since five of its civilians were killed early this month by shells and mortars from across the border.
But the combination of turmoil across Jordan’s northern border and growing demands for reform inside the Hashemite monarchy, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, have left Amman particularly vulnerable.
One Western government official visiting the region last week compared Amman with Beirut, where a car bomb killed a prominent anti-Assad intelligence chief earlier this month and plunged the Lebanese into political crisis.
“I worry more about Jordan than Lebanon,” he said. “Lebanon has been through this before and has the coping mechanisms.”
ISLAMIST SLEEPER CELLS?
Jordanian analysts say Islamist groups are gaining ground among Syrian rebels, creating a new generation of battle- hardened jihadists like the “Arab Afghans” mujahideen who went toAfghanistan to fight Soviet troops in the 1980s and returned home to wage jihad against their pro-U.S. governments.
Political analyst Sami Zubaidi said jihadists who believe in waging holy war were sheltering among ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamists who support non-violent action. “There are sleeper cells in the jihadist Salafi groups in Jordan which did not find an arena inside Jordan and went to Syria,” he said.
“A lot of these jihadists go to Syria and get armed and develop their skills as though it was a training course before they return to Jordan armed to hit Jordanian targets,” he added.
Growing deprivation in impoverished areas such as the Jordanian city of Zarqa creates recruiting grounds for jihadists heading to Syria. Zarqa is the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, once head of al Qaeda in Iraq who is blamed for the 2005 Amman hotel bombings which killed more than 50 people.
Only this month, two Jordanian Salafists were killed in Syria’s southern city of Deraa, just across the Jordanian border, while battling Syrian troops. They were among at least 250 jihadists who are estimated to have crossed into Syria.
The longer that conflict in Syria continues, the more fighters may be drawn to the battlefield.
But for many in Jordan’s security establishment, the biggest threat comes from the mayhem that would result from the toppling of the Assad regime.
“This is what scares me; if the regime falls in Syria and radical Islamist groups become influential there, it will be easier for these extremist groups to work here in Jordan and destabilise the country,” said Hazem al-Awran, a former parliamentarian.
(Reuters) - Opposition activists in Syria said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had renewed their heavy bombardment of major cities on Saturday, further undermining a truce meant to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha religious holiday.
The bombardment came on the second day of the truce called by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who had hoped to use it to build broader momentum to end the 19-month-old conflict which has killed an estimated 32,000 people.
“The army began firing mortars at 7 a.m. I have counted 15 explosions in one hour and we already have two civilians killed,” said Mohammed Doumany, an activist from the Damascus suburb of Douma, where pockets of rebels are based. “I can’t see any difference from before the truce and now,” he said.
Heavy machine gunfire and the sound of mortar bombs could be heard for the second consecutive day along the Turkey-Syria border near the Syrian town of Haram, a Reuters witness said.
Activists in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor and in Aleppo, where rebels control roughly half of Syria’s most populous city, said that mortar bombs were being fired into residential areas.
Residents in Damascus aired footage of fighter jets which they said were bombing the suburbs of Erbin and Harasta.
The Syrian army said it had responded to attacks by insurgents on its positions on Friday, in line with its earlier announcement that it would cease military activity during the holiday while reserving the right to react to rebel actions.
A statement from the General Command of the Armed Forces detailed several ceasefire violations in which it said “terrorists” had fired on checkpoints and bombed a military police patrol in Aleppo.
More than 150 people were killed on Friday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based opposition organisation with a network of sources within Syria.
Most were shot by sniper fire or in clashes, the Observatory said, highlighting a temporary drop-off in the civil war’s intensity in which Assad’s forces have been conducting daily airstrikes and heavy artillery raids in most cities.
Forty-three soldiers were killed in ambushes and during clashes, it said, while state TV reported a powerful car bomb which had killed five people in Damascus.
Violence had initially appeared to wane in some areas on Friday but truce breaches by both sides swiftly marred Syrians’ hopes of celebrating Eid al-Adha, the climax of the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, in peace.
Brahimi’s ceasefire appeal had won widespread international support, including from Russia, China and Iran, President Assad’s main foreign allies.
But there are few signs that either side in the conflict has respected the truce. A Reuters cameraman in the Turkish border village of Besaslan in southern Hatay province said he could hear the sound of a helicopter circling on the Syrian side of the border.
Turkish ambulances were ferrying wounded people from an unofficial border crossing for treatment in Turkey.
The war in Syria pits mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against Assad, who is from the minority Alawite sect which is distantly related to Shi’ite Islam. Brahimi has warned that the conflict could suck in Sunni and Shi’ite powers across the Middle East.
Brahimi’s predecessor, former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, declared a ceasefire in Syria on April 12, but it soon fell flat, along with the rest of his six-point peace plan.
Divided international powers have been unable to stop the violence with the West condemning Assad but blaming Russia, Iran and China for supporting Damascus.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov tweeted on Saturday that “Westerners” in the United Nations Security Council had prevented the body from condemning a bomb attack in Damascus on Friday, which the Syrian government blames on rebels it labels as “terrorists.”
“(The Syria opposition’s) course for continuation of violence is self-evident,” Gatilov said.
(Reporting by Oliver Holmes, Mert Ozkan in Besaslan, Gleb Bryanski in Moscow and Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman; Editing by Andrew Osborn)