World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian government forces shelled the eastern suburbs of Damascus on Monday and clashed with armed rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, activists and residents said.
Residents reported hearing heavy gunfire from around 6 a.m. (11 p.m. EDT on Sunday). They said the capital was shaken by several loud blasts, possibly artillery fire, two hours later.
"Every one of them feels like an earthquake," a resident in the central district of Adawi told Reuters in a telephone call punctuated by two loud explosions.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Assad's forces were targeting rural areas around the Zamalka and Ain Terma suburbs on the eastern fringes of Damascus, a rebel stronghold in recent months.
It said Monday's army offensive came after Assad's forces suffered heavy losses in the area on Sunday, when several military checkpoints came under attack.
The Observatory says more than 30,000 people, including 7,000 soldiers and members of the security forces, have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising against Assad in March last year.
The army repelled a July rebel offensive in Damascus but Assad's opponents are still present in outlying areas of the capital. Rebels also launched coordinated attacks on the army last week in Aleppo, trying to break a two-month military stalemate in Syria's biggest city.
A gunman killed seven people Thursday night in four separate locations in the U.S. state of Missouri before turning the gun on himself
Arab countries and Western states this month evacuated their embassies in Sanaa following a power grab by the Houthis
A spokesman for Turkey's Foreign Ministry said "Instead of repeating the same baseless and untrue allegations we advise them to support U.N. efforts for political dialogue"
The one-day talks, led by senior diplomats, stem from the decision announced by the two Cold War era foes on Dec. 17 to work to normalize relations
Year 2014 saw China moving away from internationally recognized norms in relation to civil and political rights, despite being urged to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Protesters waved green-and-red national flags and chanted a song whose words included a call to "stand in defence of the constitution".
The casualties have taken place in three separate attacks across the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Turkish Foreign Ministry has condemned the partial torching of a Greek-Orthodox seminary in West Jerusalem
Muslim organizations in Europe have criticised a new law approved by the Austrian parliament, which aims to revise a historic law on the status of Muslims.
Egypt hopes the conference will bring in some $20 billion worth of investments.
Leading members of the Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad movements led the protest, in which protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted, "Down with Zionist terrorism"
"Some seem sensitive to this argument," Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond wrote. "In reality, Bashar represents injustice, chaos and terror. We, France and Britain, say no to all three."
BMKG, Indonesia's meteorological agency, said the quake occurred in the middle of the ocean about 104 km northwest of East Flores.
Peshmerga forces prevent Arabs from returning to their homes in disputed territories claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, according to Human Rights Watch.
The capture of Tel Hamis was announced by the Kurdish YPG militia and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's civil war.