Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bashar al-Assad admits: 'We live in a state of real war'

President Bashar Assad of Syria has admitted that the country lives in a state of war. During the ceremony of swearing in a new government on Tuesday, the President underlined, according to the official Syrian news agency SANA, that 'we live a state of real war, and when we live a state of war, all our policies, directives and all sectors will be directed in order to gain victory in this war'.
Assad taking the  oath from ministers one by one (SANA)
 Not only the president, also the news agency itself lately began to pay more attention to the fighting, which it till now largely used to ignore. On Wednesday it reported that that same morning three journalists and workers were killed during an attack by an armed group on the headquarters of the Ikhbaryia satellite tv. The 'terrorists planted explosive devices following their ransacking and destroying of the Satellite Channel studios, including the newsroom studio which was entirely destroyed', according to SANA.
The news agency also said that government forces on Tuesday clashed with "armed terrorist groups" in Al-Hama, in the Damascus area, some eight kilometers from the capital. "The armed groups attacked citizens and law enforcement forces and blocked the Old Beirut road to use it as a smuggling route for weapons," according to SANA. 'Dozens of terrorists were killed' and weapons were seized, acccording to the agency.
Destruction at the Ikhbariyya tv-station. (SANA).
SANA did not report, however, about what appeared to be the most important battlefield on Tuesday, an attack by the rebels on Republican Guard in the Qudsaya suburb of Damascus. According to Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London, 28 people were killed in and around the capital, including 15 people in Al-Hama and 11 in Qudsaya during shelling by regime troops. According to Abdel Rahman the shelling in Qudsaya was "the first time that the regime used artillery so close to the capital."
The Observatory reported that all in all on Tuesday 116 people were killed across the country, 68 civilians, 41 soldiers and seven rebels. Five people were killed in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor  as the army pounded neighbourhoods; three were killed elsewhere in the province. Thirteen civilians were killed in army shelling in the province of Idlib, as well as two rebels. On Monday 95 people were killed, including 61 civilians, as the army pounded rebel strongholds and other towns and cities, according to the Observatory.

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