Syria evacuates army buildings in Damascus

2013-08-28 20:56
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at an Iftar dinner with political and religious figures in Damascus, Syria. (File, AP)

Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at an Iftar dinner with political and religious figures in Damascus, Syria. (File, AP)

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Amman - President Bashar Assad's forces appear to have evacuated most personnel from army and security command headquarters in central Damascus in preparation for a Western military strike, residents and opposition sources said on Wednesday.

US-led air or missile strikes on Syria look all but certain after the United States and European and Middle Eastern allies blamed a suspected poison gas attack that killed hundreds in the city on 21 August on President Bashar Assad's forces.

Army units stationed near the capital have confiscated several trailer trucks, apparently to transport heavy weaponry to alternative locations, though no significant movement of military hardware has been reported, possibly due to heavy fighting near major highways, one of the sources added.

Among the buildings that have been partially evacuated are the General Staff Command Building on Umayyad Square, the nearby airforce command and the security compounds in the Western Kfar Souseh districts, residents of the area and a Free Syrian Army rebel source said.

Syrian military authorities do not discuss troop movements publicly, and no government spokesman was available for comment.

The General Staff building, one of the top military headquarters in the country, has been operating with reduced staffing since it was attacked by rebel bombs in September 2012.

But almost no one reported for work at that or the other buildings on Wednesday.

They said trucks have been seen in the last 48 hours at the cordoned off entrance of several buildings, apparently transporting documents and light weapons.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict

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