Syrian Jets Bomb Damascus Suburbs to Keep Rebels From Advancing

At least 10 people were killed yesterday when Syrian fighter jets bombed suburbs around Damascus as the government sought to keep rebels from the city’s center.

Government planes carried out two air strikes in Daraya and rocket attacks hit the nearby town of Deir al-Asafir, east of the capital, the Voice of America reported, citing the U.K.- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Soldiers also fought with rebels in areas such as Idlib province in northwestern Syria, the Observatory said in an e- mail.

Ten people were killed and dozens wounded, according to the Observatory. The Local Coordination Committee, an opposition group, said in an e-mail that Syrian security forces killed at least 132 people across the country yesterday, including 50 in and around Damascus.

President Bashar al-Assad’s military has failed to prevent rebels from overrunning army bases across the country and taking heavy weapons. Fighters struggling to topple the government have seized mainly Sunni Muslim towns and suburbs stretching from the northeast outskirts of Damascus to the southwest of the capital.

Assad and most of his top officials come from the Alawite sect, affiliated with Shiite Islam. The majority of Syria’s population and many leaders of the uprising are Sunni Muslims.

War Deaths

Syria’s 20-month civil war has resulted in at least 40,000 deaths, the Observatory said. The toll rises by about 150 a day as opposition forces seek to oust the government.

Fighting near Damascus International Airport on Nov. 29 prompted airlines to cancel flights to and from Syria, and the hub was closed for a time as troops clashed with rebels on the main road leading there, Al Arabiya television reported.

Syrian communication services resumed Dec. 1 after all Internet traffic was shut off on Nov. 29.

Syria’s official news agency reported that a car bomb yesterday killed at least 15 people in Homs, in central Syria, according to the Voice of America.

The Syrian air force also launched air strikes in the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: 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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