Syrian warplanes target town near Lebanon: Monitor

Syria`s air force launched air raids on Qara near the border with Lebanon on Sunday.

AFP| Updated: Nov 18, 2013, 00:30 AM IST

Beirut: Syria`s air force launched air raids on Qara near the border with Lebanon today as loyalist forces tried to storm rebel positions in the town, a monitoring group said.

"Since the morning, the town of Qara has been hit by air strikes," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

"Warplanes bombarded the town heavily yesterday. Regime troops are trying to storm it and to drive the rebels out."

The Britain-based group said opposition fighters in the town were determined to resist despite the onslaught.

Pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported that "the army hit the Qalamoun mountains hard, closing in on the terrorists around Qara," using the government`s term for rebels.
Violence in the Qalamoun area intensified on Friday.

Both the regime, backed by fighters from powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, and rebels including jihadists affiliated to Al-Qaeda have bolstered their forces in the area.

and is used by rebels as a rear base for operations around the capital.

For President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, it is important because it is on the road linking Damascus to the central province of Homs.

It also houses regime weapons depots.

For months, Qalamoun mostly avoided the violence tearing other areas of Syria apart, but in past weeks parts of the town have been battered by near-daily shelling.

Elsewhere in Syria today, mortar rounds slammed into neighbourhoods in central Damascus, killing at least two people, said the Observatory.

Rounds hit the Kassaa, Bab Tuma and Zablatani neighbourhoods of central Damascus, as well as the main Baghdad Street and Abbasiyeen Square, killing two people and wounding several others.

State media blame "terrorists" for the mortar attacks, which have increased in recent days.