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May 1, 2013

Heavy Death toll in Syrian Suburbs

April 25, 2013

In Karm al Jabal neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria on March 4, 2014. Credit: Basma

Once again President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are proceeding ahead with a major offensive against rebels in Jdaidet Artouz and Jdaidet al-Fateh suburban districts - around 15 kms southwest of the Syrian capital, Damascus - killing countless in the process. In fact, the government troops, as reported, were trying to encircle the contested town of al-Quasyr, so as to quell gains made by the rebels.

Although the precise number of those killed in the latest fighting has not been ascertained, the UK based, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that the death toll might rise to as high as 250, mostly due to indiscriminate shelling. The fact stands, further substantiated by the records of another activist group called Local Coordination Committee, which estimated the casualties to be an even higher. It said that most of the victims were killed in Jdaidet Artouz.

The state run-news agency SANA also acknowledged that the Syrian troops had “inflicted heavy losses” on the rebels. Justifying the strong retaliation by government troops, a government official in Damascus told the Associated Press that the rebels were the real culprits behind the “massacre” in Jdaidet al-Fateh. Against this backdrop, the army had no option but to press on with its heavy offensives near the Lebanese border, a strategic region because it links Damascus with the Mediterranean coastal enclave that is the heartland of Mr. Assad’s Alawite sect.

There appears to be no end to the on-going fighting between government troops and the rebels which, in fact, poses a serious threat to the peace and security of not only Syria and its people but also to the entire Middle East which has already suffered scars and continues to bear the brunt of vicious power politics over the region’s natural wealth - oil and gas.

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