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Syrian opposition leader criticizes U.S.
In Damascus, military helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over the city and its suburbs, urging rebels to hand over their weapons or face “inevitable death.”
The psychological warfare is part of a widening and deadly offensive to recapture areas near the capital that have fallen into rebel hands.
In Jaramana, the car bomb badly damaged a five-story apartment building, knocking out windows and shaving off balconies, according to an AP reporter who visited the scene. At least 10 cars also were charred.
The windows from two nearby buildings were shattered from the impact of the blast, and vegetables and fruits from a nearby vendor were strewn across the street.
SANA earlier reported that the blast targeted a funeral procession for two people who were killed a day earlier in the area. It was the third bombing in Jaramana in the past 24 hours, according to SANA.
No further details were immediately available. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a bomb exploded during the funeral of two pro-regime civilians killed in overnight bombings in Jaramana.
Jaramana, southeast of Damascus, has a majority of Christians and Druze and is close to the capital’s international airport. Pro-regime youth groups have recently set up checkpoints in the area to try to stop rebels from the neighboring Ghota neighborhood from crossing over.
Those killed Tuesday included a 6-year-old girl, Farah, who was playing in the street with her brother when the blast hit. Her brother was wounded.
“Where is my Farah?” her 24-year-old mother Hoda Mohammed, asked repeatedly as she wept on the street.
For more than a month, the military has been fighting major battles against rebels in the outskirts of Damascus and its suburbs while engaged in what appears to be a stalemated fight in the north against rebels for control of Aleppo, the nation’s largest city and commercial capital.
The government recently has stepped up its offensive to recapture rebellious districts on the capital’s periphery, and hundreds of people have been killed in several days of shelling and clashes in the affected areas. Over the weekend evidence mounted of mass killings by regime forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya after it was stormed by troops.
Some of the leaflets dropped Tuesday, which were signed by the armed forces and the army’s general command, read: “The Syrian army is determined to cleanse every inch in Syria and you have only two choices: Abandon your weapons … or face inevitable death.”
“No one will help you. They have implicated you in taking up arms against your compatriots,” they said. “They drown in their pleasures while you face death. Why? And for whom?”
Syrian authorities blame the more than 17-month uprising on a foreign conspiracy and accuse oil-rich Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition to the U.S. and Turkey, of backing “terrorists” seeking to oust the regime.
Assad told an Iranian delegation this week that he was determined to crush the conspiracy against Syria “whatever the price.”
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