Blast Rocks Damascus, Targets Military Unit, Syria TV Says

A blast rocked an area near a military guard unit in Damascus, Syrian state television reported, calling it a “terrorist” attack as government forces and rebels battle for control of airbases across the country.

Two explosive devices were used in the attack on al-Mahdi St. in the Abou Remaneh area and wounded four people, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported on its website, without saying where it got the information. Al Arabiya television, citing a rebel group, said the bombing targeted the Syrian army’s command.

Syrian forces have struggled to maintain security in the country’s capital after rebels pushed into neighborhoods in July as they try to oust President Bashar al-Assad. A bomb attack that month killed key members of Assad’s military establishment, including his brother-in-law, Major General Assef Shawkat, and Defense Minister Dawoud Rajhah in the capital.

Syrian forces killed 27 people today, while 12 soldiers died in the fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement. More than 23,000 people have died since the uprising against Assad began in March last year, according to the observatory.

Airbase Attacks

Rebels have turned their attacks against airbases as they try to reduce the strength of the government’s air power being deployed against them. Fighting continued today around the perimeter of the Abu Zhuhoor military airport in the northern province of Idlib, the observatory said in an e-mail.

Rebels detained more than 16 members of Syrian armed forces after storming a building in the city of Bukmal in Deir Ezzour province near Iraq’s border, the U.K.-based group said on its Facebook page yesterday. Those captured included officers and regular conscripts, the group said.

The Syrian army clashed with rebels in the provinces of Hama and Homs and conducted raids in Aleppo, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported, citing its own reporters. A car bomb explosion in the Damascus suburb of Sabina killed at least 15 civilians in a Palestinian refugee camp, Middle East News Agency reported earlier today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dana El Baltaji in Dubai at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net; Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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