World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian forces bombarded a crowded Palestinian refugee district in Damascus on Friday, killing at least 10 people according to residents, while other parts of the city were rocked by apparent rebel bomb attacks.
The main focus of the fighting is now in the economic centre, Aleppo, but rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad continue to attack government forces and buildings in the capital.
Five security personnel were killed and several others were wounded in a "terrorist" blast caused by explosives attached to a motorcycle in the Rukn al-Din district of Damascus, state television said.
A car bomb also exploded between the Information Ministry and the main Damascus courthouse, it said, giving no details of any casualties.
In the south of the capital, rockets rained down on Yarmouk, a densely populated Palestinian refugee camp. A woman living nearby counted at least 11 strikes. Video uploaded by activists showed clouds of grey smoke curling into the air.
"At least 10 people have been killed and 15 wounded since they resumed shelling," the woman said by telephone, asking not to be named for her own safety. "There are several burned corpses and limbs, so no one is sure of the total death toll."
Residents across the city said they had been hearing heavy blasts and sporadic gunfire since early on Friday morning.
"I can count at least 10 columns of smoke coming from the southern neighbourhoods around the camp," said activist Samir al-Shami, speaking on Skype. He said tanks and troops had been brought in to conduct raids on some southern neighbourhoods.
"WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?"
Assad's forces are trying to re-establish full control in Damascus as they battle anti-government forces in Aleppo, Syrias economic hub, and pockets of rebellion across the country.
The army began bombarding Yarmouk on Thursday, possibly targeting rebels who residents say may have entered the camp.
"Why are they doing this? What good is shelling a camp with houses and bakeries? They are making sure that every Syrian and Palestinian turns against them," complained one Palestinian resident near Yarmouk, who also asked to remain anonymous.
The regional news channel Al Arabiya aired live footage of an opposition protest in Yarmouk an hour before shelling there resumed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that more than 23,000 people have died in an uprising that has lasted more than 17 months. Around 200,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, said it would give 50 million euros to help Syrian civilians, adding to 69 million already contributed.
Kristalina Georgeva, European commissioner for humanitarian aid, told reporters that talk by Western nations of creating a buffer zone shielded from air strikes was currently impractical.
"We do not have a (U.N.) Security Council resolution that authorises any intervention that could secure space of that nature," she said.
Georgeva said aid workers saw the buffer zones as a last resort because the humanitarian aims of such projects were difficult to secure, as fighters often infiltrated the areas.
"They sometimes may end up prolonging or deepening a conflict rather than resolving it. But if the international community was to come up with a united position in the Security Council to authorise buffer zones, at that moment of time, with the number of victims growing every day ... yes, that could help but, again, at this moment of time I don't see it."
Zuma was due to meet Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to try to resolve a political crisis in the small mountain kingdom after an apparent coup
The swift end to the ISIL's encirclement of the Shi'ite Turkmen town of 15,000 came amid a push by Kurdish peshmerga, Shi'ite militias and Iraqi troops, after U.S. air strikes
The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the 17 were were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 2-1/2 years to 26 years.
Berlin has announced it will send military supplies that will arm more than 4,000 Kurdish troops.
Mohammad Mohaqeq, one of Abdullah's vice presidential running mates, told Reuters the two sides could not agree on the powers of the chief executive, blaming the Ghani camp for hardening its position
Before his disappearance, activist and lawyer Mudar Hassan Khadur represented a rare but growing voice of public dissent among Alawites
The group was being held at a centre for illegal immigrants near the capital Skopje and that Macedonia plans to repatriate the immigrants to Greece.
If Ukraine scrapped its non-alliance status after the Oct. 26 vote, NATO would discuss with Kiev "how to move forward", Rasmussen said
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the government would not hesitate to enforce its writ and was considering cracking down against those attacking state institutions.
The government will seek to bring all abductees back regardless of whether they have been officially recognised as abducted
Negotiators hope a deal can draw a line under the decades of hostilities and instability in the desert north of the West African nation.
Protests descended into deadly chaos over the weekend, with demonstrators clashing with police in a central area near many government buildings and embassies
Israel announced the appropriation of land in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem, a move which an anti-settlement group said was the biggest such claim in 30 years
Miguel Vasquez, a spokesman for the Mayan elders, defended their decision, saying "the constitution protects us because we need to conserve and preserve our culture."
Voters in Scotland will decide on Sept. 18 whether they want to form an independent state with opinion polls showing Scots are likely to vote to keep their 307-union with England intact.
Iceland cut the level back to orange - the next highest level - saying the eruption was not creating ash.