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Syrian rebels press in battle for Damascus airport
Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Friday he had written to Syria’s foreign minister urging his government to ban the use of chemical weapons by signing on to the current international convention “without delay.”
Syrian opposition leaders said they were concerned the government would use its chemical weapons. George Sabra, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, called on Syrian soldiers to ignore any orders to use them.
“Any civilian or military Syrian, who implements or helps implement this crime will be held accountable as a traitor for this country and will be pursued on charges of committing genocide,” he said at a press conference in Paris.
“The Syrian people will not forgive or have mercy on anyone who orders the use of weapons of destruction and anyone who participates in executing this crime,” he added.
Syrian activists said government forces were firing rockets and mortars at suburbs south of Damascus Friday amid heavy clashes with rebels. Most of the fighting was taking place in the towns of Aqraba and Beit Saham near the airport.
In other violence, a car bomb exploded in the government controlled Inshaat neighborhood in the central Homs province, setting cars on fire and covering the streets with debris, activists said.
An amateur video showed Syrian soldiers rushing to the scene as people cried in shock. It was not immediately clear what the target was.
• Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Mike Corder in the Netherlands contributed to this report.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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