Syrian Revolution News Round- up / DAY 627 – Airport fighting continues, Egypt ready to evacuate its citizens

Violence escalated in the capital as the fight for the country’s main airport continues for the second day in a raw. Almost all towns and villages under the control of the rebels were bombarded by the regime’s heavy artillery, mortar shells, rocket launchers and fighter jets, leaving as many as 83 people dead, including 26 that died in the town of Bait Sahem, ten in Daraya, eight in Douma, six in Bibila, five in Deir Asafir and many others in the towns of Moadamiya, Thiyabiya, Medeira and Abada.

All flights in and out of Damascus airport were cancelled as the rebels attacked a military checkpoint in the nearby town of Aqraba and repelled the regime’s ground assault on the nearby towns of Bait Sahem, Haran Awamid and Bibila, destroying three military tanks and killing many soldiers and militiamen.

The rebels also repelled the regime’s attempt to infiltrate the Damascus suburbs of Daraya and Zamalka. They attacked a number of military sites in the towns of Rankous, Harasta and Qatana in addition to shooting down another fighter jet and detaining its pilot in the town of Dumair.

The country remained offline for the second consecutive day as people couldn’t connect to the internet while facing partial outage of the cellphone and telephone services in several parts of the country.

At least 22 people, including six children were killed in Aleppo due to the indiscriminate shelling in the neighbourhoods of Kalaseh, Hollok, Sakhour and Haydariya. Regime forces continued their major onslaught on the Daraa suburb of Tafas killing more than 17 people including two children and two women in addition to burning down more than 300 houses before they heading on to Damascus. Regime airstrike killed six people in the village of al-Roz in the Deir Azzour suburb of Baseira, while ten more people died due to the indiscriminate shelling in the Idlib suburbs of Shalakh, Ma’arshamsheh, Barra and Mahambel. Some five people were killed in Homs, three of whom died due to the fierce shelling in the provincial town of Rastan while two men were executed in the town Tal Kalakh.

Regime forces shelled as many as 188 different areas today. They fired mortar shells on more than 71 areas while their heavy artillery pounded more than 66 others. Some 35 areas came under rocket shelling as fighter jets bombarded more than ten areas of which six are said to have been shelled by cluster bombs thus causing extensive damage to residential buildings and leaving scores of people dead and injured.

Today’s death toll reached 149, including 19 children and nine women as well as 22 rebel fighters. At least 65 people were also injured.

Egypt urged its citizens in Syria to get in touch with its embassy in Damascus in order to arrange for their departure if they desired so. Ambassador Ali Ushairi, said in a televised interview that his government is taking the necessary measures to ensure safe return of its citizens back to Egypt. The Syrian pound is losing further ground against the US dollar in both the black and formal markets. Today, the dollar was traded at an average of 90 pounds by informal currency dealers. Moreover, the price of the scarce cooking gas hit a new height at 1325 SYP per cylinder with the diesel still scarce in some parts of the country. Regime forces killed 20 Lebanese gunmen and two Syrians as they entered the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh, near the Lebanese border. The men hail from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli which recently saw clashes between pro and anti-Assad Lebanese factions. Tensions swept through the city of Tripoli as reports claim that the victims were actually killed “execution style”.