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Embassy follows up on Syrians in Kuwait

DAMASCUS, April 6, (Agencies): The Syrian Embassy in Abdu Dhabi will take care of Syrian citizens living in the State of Kuwait where the Syrian embassy has been shut down, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. Out of its keenness to fulfill the needs of Syrians living in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the US, where the Syrian embassies have been shut down, the Foreign Ministry has asked the Syrian embassy in Abu Dhabi to follow on the affairs of Syrian citizens living in Kuwait, Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported. The ministry has also asked the Syrian embassy in Manama to take care of Syrians living in Saudi Arabia, SANA said.

Syrian consulates in Montreal and Vancouver have also been informed to follow on the affairs of Syrian citizens in the US, the agency added. Meanwhile, at least 29 rebels died in a blast Sunday in the central Syrian city of Homs as they primed a car bomb for an attack, a monitoring group said. In the capital, meanwhile, two people were killed when mortar fire struck the Damascus Opera House, state media reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said at least 29 people were killed, most or all of them believed to be rebels, in the besieged Old City of Homs when a car bomb exploded. “The death toll is likely to rise because there are dozens of people missing and body parts in the area of the blast,” the Britain-based group said. State news agency SANA also reported the blast, saying a car had exploded while being loaded with explosives.

One activist network, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, said the blast was the result of a rocket landing on an ammunition deport in the area. The claim could not be independently confirmed. The blast took place on the outskirts of the Old City of Homs, which is under rebel control. Some 1,400 civilians were able to leave the area this year under UN supervision, but an estimated 1,500 people remain until the army siege. In the capital, SANA said two people were killed in mortar fire by rebel fighters. “Two people were killed and five wounded by a mortar round that hit the Damascus Opera House” near key government and military buildings on Umayyad Square, it said.

Attack
The attack damaged the Opera House, which was inaugurated by President Bashar al-Assad in 2004. Mortar fire also wounded 13 people in several neighbourhoods of the capital. On Saturday, mortar rounds struck near the Russian embassy, said the Observatory. The rebel fire on Damascus comes as government forces step up a campaign to crush insurgents in its eastern suburbs, it said. On Sunday, the Observatory said five civilians, including three children, were killed in regime air strikes on the town of Douma northeast of Damascus. And additional air raids as well as fierce fighting was reported in Mleiha, southwest of the capital in Damascus province. In northern Aleppo province, the Observatory said two people, including a child, were killed in raids using explosive- packed barrels bombs, an army tactic that has caused dozens of deaths. The Syrian state media outlet SANA said other mortar shells hit nearby areas on Sunday morning. On Saturday, mortar fire injured 22 people in the city. The British-based Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed both days’ shelling.

Fire
Syrian rebels often fire mortar shells into Damascus from strongholds in outlying communities, but the fire has intensified this week as pro-Assad forces advance on the rural Ghuta suburb to the capital’s east, al-Shami said in a Skype interview from the area. “They (rebels) are trying to shell security strongholds in Damascus. It’s an attempt to reduce pressure on the neighborhood,” he said. Pro-Assad forces began fighting hard to seize Ghuta - a long-held opposition area - over the past five days, said al- Shami. As he spoke, explosions could be heard in the background. The area has been blockaded for six months. The assault on Ghuta is part of a push by Assad forces to solidify its hold on Damascus by dislodging rebels from the towns and neighborhoods on the city’s fringes. The government has used twin tactics to achieve its aims: blockading rebellious areas to pressure them into submission and unleashing artillery and airstrikes on districts that refuse to bend. Last week government forces seized the outskirts of the town of Mleiha, near the Ghouta area. That came after pro- Assad forces severed important rebel supply lines from the eastern Lebanese border into the Damascus periphery.

 

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