Syrian rebels bomb Alawite district in Damascus, casualties reported

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Civilians in Mazzeh 86 district of Damascus gather in front of a building that was reportedly hit by rebel fire. File photo

ARA News

Damascus – Syrian rebels attacked a regime-held district in central Damascus on Friday, killing and wounding scores of civilians. The raid was a reprisal for the siege of eastern Aleppo.

Mazzeh 86, an Alawite-majority district in the Syria’s war-torn capital, was exposed to a heavy bombardment by anti-regime forces. At least two civilians lost their lives and nine others were wounded.

“The rebels targeted Mazzeh 86 with several mortar shells, most of which hit residential buildings,” human rights activist Waleed al-Dumani told ARA News.

The bombardment is being widely interpreted as an act of revenge against Alawites – President Bashar al-Assad’s denomination. Rebel spokesman Saleh al-Zein called on Syria’s Alawite community, telling them to abandon President Assad’s Government, which is accused of committing war crimes.

“The operation was our response to the continuous bombardment of Aleppo and the killing of civilians with barrel bombs,” al-Zein told ARA News.

Alawites have supported the regime since the start of the five-year war in Syria, serving as officers, pilots and crack troops. Tens of thousands of Alawite men have been killed by rebel factions.

Human rights activist al-Dumani condemned the targeting of civilians under any pretext. He told ARA News that the rebels, by bombing innocent civilians, had “shown that they’re no different from the regime.”

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News

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