Fierce clashes near Damascus airport

2012-11-30 15:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Damascus - Fierce clashes raged throughout the night near Damascus airport, with a shell slamming into a bus carrying airport workers, as internet and phone links in Syria remained cut on Friday for a second straight day.

Delegates from more than 60 countries, meanwhile, were gathering in Tokyo to find ways to step up the pressure on President Bashar Assad's regime.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the main road to Damascus from the airport, which was closed on Thursday due to the fighting, had reopened but said a bus carrying airport employees had been hit by a shell, killing two people.

A security source also reported the deaths, blaming rebels for the shelling, but SyrianAir director Ghida Abdellatif said the two employees were wounded and that the airport itself was not shelled.

An airport source said air traffic and passenger boarding was normal on Friday, after EgyptAir and Emirates had on Thursday announced a suspension of flights because of the violence.

The airport informed foreign airlines to resume flight after "the restoration of security on the road" to the airport, he said.

Airport road

Abdellatif said a flight to Jeddah via Aleppo had already left, while flights to Khartoum and Cairo were planned.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of activists on the ground, said that during the night rebels bombed the Harran al-Awamid military barracks, which is responsible for protecting the airport.

It also reported fierce fighting along stretches of the 27km road linking Damascus to the airport.

"After strong clashes, rebels were able to take control of a part of the airport road between the second and fourth bridge," it said.

State television had on Thursday night quoted the information ministry as saying that the Damascus airport road had been "secured" after military intervention.

A military source in Damascus said the army had taken control of the western side of the road leading to the airport and a small portion on the east by dawn, allowing travellers to move through.

Networks down

"But the most difficult part is yet to come. The army wants to take control of the eastern side, where there are thousands of terrorists and this will take several days," he said, using the term regime officials use for rebel fighters.

The Observatory, which reported 108 deaths in violence across Syria on Thursday based on information from activists and medics on the ground, said most phones and internet networks were down for a second straight day on Friday.

"In some areas, it is possible to access the internet but with great difficulty," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Observatory, said.

"It is also very difficult to reach people by phone. But we have received reports that it is possible to communicate between certain regions via fixed telephone lines," he added.

AFP correspondents noted that internet and telephone communications, including mobile phones, were cut in the capital.

On Thursday, activists accused the regime of preparing a "massacre" when the telephone lines and internet first went down, while the authorities explained the cut was due to "maintenance" work.

US weighing further assistance

Washington branded it as a desperate move on part of the regime.

But State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that around 2 000 communications sets supplied to opposition rebels over recent months as part of a US non-lethal assistance programme were not affected by the blackout.

Washington was weighing what further help it can give the opposition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, without spelling out if they would win full US recognition.

"We are going to carefully consider what more we can do," Clinton told a Washington forum. "I'm sure we will do more in the weeks ahead."

On Friday, delegates from more than 60 countries gathered in Tokyo, seeking to ramp up pressure on Assad.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told the "Friends of Syria" group that the international community had to act together where the divided UN Security Council had failed.

"While the United Nations Security Council has been unable to assume its primary responsibility, it's increasingly important for the international community to act as one in order to deal with" the continuing violence, he said.

Read more on:    un  |  bashar assad  |  hillary clinton  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Ramphele: ANC can be defeated

The African National Congress can be defeated, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has told supporters in Temba near Hammanskraal.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Brackenfell - 17:33 PM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    DELAYS between the R300 Highway and the Brackenfell Boulevard exit
  • Thursday Cape Town - 17:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Hospital Bend and the Rhodes Avenue exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.