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Mortar fire kills 13, injures 61 in Damascus and Aleppo in 24 hours

October 24, 2013, 13:08 UTC+3 By Itar-Tass correspondent Konstantin Machulsky
Anti-government militants have stepped up mortar shellings of residential areas in Syria’s largest cities in recent weeks
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DAMASCUS, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Anti-government militants have stepped up mortar shellings of residential areas in Syria’s largest cities in recent weeks. Over the past twenty four hours thirteen civilians have been killed and sixty one injured in Damascus and Aleppo.

Two mortar shells crashed on residential buildings in the central square of the Abbasiyyin neighbourhood on Wednesday evening, killing four civilians, including one woman, and injuring eighteen others.

More shells exploded near Sheraton hotel in the centre of Damascus and in front of the entrance to the Natural Sciences Building of the University of Damascus. One shell went off at the gate of the exhibition compound.

In Dummar al-Mashrua the militants staged two terrorist attacks by exploding a car bomb in El Kanissa Square and attacking a military road block shortly afterwards. Three died and dozens were injured.

In the Jaramana suburb of Damascus the militants mounted mortar attacks on the Al Rauda neighbourhood, where at least five shells exploded injuring a dozen people and causing serious damage to the area.

Six civilians were killed in Aleppo, where the militants attacked Saadalah Al-Jaberi Square. Over thirty people, including women and children, were injured there. Homes were ruined and cars set ablaze.

The militants have continued attempts to break through to Damascus. On Wednesday evening, after an attack on a gas distribution terminal a large group of militants tried to enter the city by the road leading to the international airport.

Fierce clashes continued throughout last night till early Thursday morning, with the Syrian army’s artillery pounding areas where groups of terrorists had been spotted. Tens of militants were killed and the others went into hiding at nearby farms. The army is combing the area.

Electricity supply resumed to some areas of Damascus last night. The minister of energy says restoring power supply to all Syrian cities affected by the blackout, including Latakia, Tartus, Homs, and Tel Kalah, will require 48 hours.

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