Damascus and suburbs under fire as Assad ‘re-elected’
June 5, 2014
TALE OF 2 CITIES: As pro-government Syrians celebrated in the streets of the Damascus Wednesday, the violence in and around Syria’s capital continues unabated.
“The celebrations were not limited to any one area, but to most neighborhoods of Damascus, as areas were exposed to mortar shelling, like Abu Romana and al-Maliki,” Abu Hamza, a resident of Damascus, told Syria Direct Thursday, describing two of the most affluent districts, with the latter the site of President Bashar al-Assad’s home.
At least 130 mortar shells landed in the Syrian capital Tuesday and Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Meanwhile, the Syrian government continued to bombard the rebel-held Damascus suburbs, particularly al-Mleiha, Daraya, a-Zabadani and Irbin and the neighborhood of Jobar, where one of Syria’s oldest synagogues was destroyed in fighting last week.
Pro-government television channel al-Akhbariya aired footage Wednesday night of jubilant Syrians driving through the streets of Damascus waving Syrian flags and carrying posters of the Syrian president.
“Shabiha forever, as a sacrifice for you, Assad,” shouts one of the celebrants, driving through Damascus’s Jisr al-Rais neighborhood.
Syrian state media made no mention of the shelling, nor did it release casualty numbers. However, pro-government news network Damascus No reported that nine were killed and 70 injured in “celebratory gunfire,” despite a statement from Assad cautioning Syrians against firing into the air in “national feeling.”
Syrian government warplanes continued their bombardment of the rebel-held Damascus suburbs throughout the elections.