World

Heavy firefight breaks out in Syrian capital

People gather at the site of an explosion of a bomb car that went off behind a security office in Aleppo city on March 18, 2012. — Reuters picPeople gather at the site of an explosion of a bomb car that went off behind a security office in Aleppo city on March 18, 2012. — Reuters picAMMAN, March 19 — A heavy firefight broke out today between Free Syrian Army rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a main district of the capital Damascus, witnesses said.

The sound of heavy machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades echoed through the night from the western neighbourhood of al-Mezze, one of the most heavily guarded areas of the capital and home to several security installations, residents told Reuters by telephone.

“There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off,” a housewife who lives in the area said.

Extra troops have been patrolling in Mezze, located on the Damascus-Beirut road, after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the neighbourhood last month to denounce Assad following the killing of several protesters.

Security in the district is already heavy. Along with embassies and secret police complexes, several security officials have homes in the district, including Assef Shawkat, President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law and one of the central figures in the security apparatus underpinning the family-based power structure. — Reuters

 

Comments

Please note that you must sign up with disqus.com before commenting. And, please refrain from comments of a racist, sexist, personal, vulgar or derogatory nature and note that comments can be edited, rewritten for clarity or to avoid questionable issues. As comments are moderated, they may not appear immediately or even on the same day you posted them. We also reserve the right to delete off-topic comments