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."
After his election as president in 1982, Bachir Gemayel was killed by car bomb in Beirut
Israel has occupied most of Syria’s Golan Heights since 1967 Arab-Israeli war
Group of outlawed gunmen clash with security near Oases area and kill 14 policemen
Longtime allies, Hamas and Tehran recently reconciled following years-long falling-out over Syria
21-year-old Ibrahim Halawa had been among hundreds detained in aftermath of Egypt's 2013 military coup
7th round of talks will discuss regulations for release of hostages and prisoners
'Its infrastructure, international airport and government facilities – it’s all game,' Naftali Bennett tells for Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem
Israeli forces close 8 Palestinian media companies in raids, accusing them of 'incitement'
Emirates News Agency confirms incident but does not specify what type of aircraft was involved in crash
Israel accused Iran of using Syrian conflict to establish military positions there
"Police forces have dismantled a band of six persons and seized 100,000 fake visas for Arbaeen" which this year falls on November 9, Tehran's police chief Hossein Rahimi said.
Israel advances plans for first new settler homes in Hebron in 15 years
Kuwait continues to play mediating role between Qatar and Saudi-led bloc of Arab states
"The Qatari regime has honoured me by freezing all my bank accounts," Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani tweeted.