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Source: China Daily China Daily

Mortar rounds rain down Damascus as rebels threats more escalation

Published: 25 Feb 2015 23:50:23 PST

DAMASCUS -- Tens of mortar rounds slammed into residential districts of the capital Damascus on Thursday.

The attacks were part of rebels' promise to rain the capital with rockets in retaliation to the government troops advancement and shelling to rebel-held eastern Damascus countryside, sources and witnesses said.

Residents of the capital woke up Thursday to the rattling sound of mortar rounds and Katyusha rockets that were thumping most of the capital districts, mainly the upscale neighborhoods of Mazzeh,

Malki, Tijara and other districts.

Sources told Xinhua that over 45 mortar rounds hit the capital districts since 7.30 a.m. local time, as official media reports said around eight people were reported injured. The attacks also left property losses.

As the mortar attack started, parents rushed to schools to pick up their kids, fearing further escalation. The Syrian artillery immediately started pounded the rebel positions in the eastern countryside of the capital, from which the mortars are believed to have been launched.

Syrian warplanes also carried out several raids.

The pro-government Sham FM reported the attack and gave destruction to people to take a hiding and not to stand in open areas to avoid the intensified attack.

On Tuesday evening, head of the so-called Islam Army, Zahran Alloush, tweeted on his official Twitter account that he would target military and security positions in Damascus, warning the citizens against venturing out.

The warning came a week after the same person fired over 90 mortar rounds at the capital, leaving many people killed or wounded.

The tactic aimed to destabilize the daily life in the capital and instill fear in the hearts of residents in the capital.

He said the mortar attacks are also a retaliation against the government troops' shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held areas.

Alloush tweeted again on Thursday, saying let the Syrian forces "taste a bit of what the people of the Eastern Ghouta are feeling. " He said the attack would continue "until we purge Damascus."

Several people returned canceled their daily appointments and work, returning homes amid the intensified attack.

Further info on causalities and damages are still forthcoming.

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