Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

November 1, 2012

Syrian rebels kill 28 soldiers as fighting rages

(Continued)

Also according to SANA, authorities raised the death toll from another bombing Wednesday evening in a Damascus suburb that houses a Shiite Muslim shrine to 12, after one more victim died of wounds.

Many Syrians, particularly those in Damascus where fighting and demonstrations have been relatively light, fear that Islamic extremists that have fought alongside rebel units may be targeting the capital more frequently to help drive Assad out of power.

Eyewitnesses of Wednesday's blast said the assailants picked random spots to detonate explosives and stoke panic among residents.

"There was a very loud bang and then I saw the kiosk, which sold watches, engulfed in flames," said Abu Rami, a 44-year-old civil servant and resident of Al-Mazzeh area. Abu Rami, who only gave his nickname for fear of reprisals, said security forces arrived in the area minutes after the explosion and sealed it off.

Another resident in the area where the explosions occurred said security must have been compromised as the district is patrolled by troops.

"I find it strange that three explosions occurred in a residential area that is completely under the control of Syrian security forces," said the shop owner, who only gave his first name, Wael. "There are security checkpoints at the entrances and exits to al-Mazzeh, it's very strange."

Elsewhere in the country, 116 people were killed on Wednesday, according to Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory. Of those, 41 people were killed in Aleppo and 35 died in heavy fighting in the suburbs of Damascus, he said.

Last week, more than 500 people were killed in fighting during what was supposed to be a four-day truce timed to coincide with a major Muslim holiday. The failure to at least temporarily halt fighting has left the international community at a loss about how to stop the war.

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