Damascus: 'We had information about an important security meeting, so we struck'

February 29, 2013

Syrian rebels set the 120mm caliber mortars used to strike “Security Square” in Damascus on February 27.  Al-Maghawier Forces, an armed group operating under the auspices of the FSA, claimed responsibility for the attack. Video courtesy of Al-Mughawier Forces.

 by Abbas Deiri and Ahmed Kwider

Several mortar shells hit the “Security Square” area around 1PM Damascus time in an attack claimed by the “Force of Heroes,” or Al-Maghawier Forces, an armed group operating under FSA, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The regime declared Damascus a war zone," the Forces' spokesman Sariya al-Dimashqi told SAS News. "We always try to avoid targeting civilian areas but we had reports about an important security meeting so we struck." [See the full interview here.]

Emergency vehicles were deployed from throughout the city to the area that houses the Council of Ministers Secretariat, the Military Court and Section 215 of the General Security Services.

Since the start of the revolution, the Military Court has not only been sentencing soldiers but also civilians identified as opponents of the government.

“Section 215 is known for arresting and holding opponents of the regime,” said Siraj A-Shami, member of the Damascus Revolution Coordinators Union.

A-Shami described a fire blazing on May 6 Street just behind the Military Court.

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The official Syrian news agency SANA described "terrorists" as firing two mortar shells at the school. A gas station outside the capital was also blown up on Harasta Highway, "causing large-scale material damage," the agency reported.

Eyewitnesses to this afternoon’s mortar attack say the School for the Arts, located adjacent to Security Square, was evacuated along with the government employees in the area. Additionally the Mazzeh Highway, which runs parallel to the School and Security Square, was closed to traffic.