2012-12-03 09:09:48

Fighting in Syria continues

Syrian forces pounded rebel-held suburbs around Damascus with fighter jets and rockets on Sunday, opposition activists said, killing and wounding dozens in an offensive to push rebels away from the airport and stop them closing in on the capital.

The army struck hard after a week of rebel advances, including the capture of two military bases near the capital.

Rebels had been planning to push into central Damascus from their strongholds on the outskirts and fighting in the past week has been fierce.

The army's assaults appear to have staved off a rebel advance into central Damascus so far. But neither side has gained ground in recent days, and fighting continued along the
outskirts of the city despite heavy shelling by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

As fighting continues with no end in sight, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stressed the need for cooperation in the international community to bring a peaceful political solution to Syria: “The formation of a new coalition of the opposition could be an important step towards the conditions for a comprehensive and inclusive political process. Building a free and democratic Syria will require political dialogue and negotiations. The United Nations will facilitate such a process. We can only succeed if all sides take the necessary steps, and if there are converging actions by the international community, in particular the Security Council.”

Secretary-General Ban deplored the “new and appalling heights of brutality and violence,” in the conflict, now entering its 21st month.

Listen to Seàn Patrick Lovett’s report: RealAudioMP3

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