Syria army shells Daraya, 95 killed: NGO
BEIRUT: Troops rained shells on the central Syrian town of Daraya on Friday, killing at least one civilian, a day after nationwide violence cost the lives of more than 90 people, a rights watchdog reported.
Amateur video posted on YouTube and distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights showed medical officials trying in vain to treat a bloodied person at Daraya, in the province of Damascus.
Heavy fighting also broke out in parts of the capital itself, said the Britain-based Observatory.
Elsewhere, an explosion targeting a military vehicle killed at least five troops at Maaret al-Numan in the northwestern province of Idlib, it said, adding that soldiers pounded the town, killing two rebels.
The latest bloodshed came ahead of expected anti-regime protests to call for a “People’s liberation war,” according to the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union.
Of the 95 people killed on Thursday, 68 were civilians, 24 were government soldiers and three were rebel fighters, the watchdog added.
It is not possible to independently verify death tolls for the conflict in Syria since the United Nations at the end of 2011 ceased compiling such figures.
However, the Observatory estimates that more than 16,500 people have been killed since the uprising erupted in mid-March last year.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition leaders in Paris are pressing diplomats at an international conference for a no-fly zone over Syria, but the US and its European and Arab partners are expected to focus on economic sanctions instead.
Hassan Hashimi, general secretary of the opposition Syrian National Council, said the international community is still moving too slowly. He said he hopes to see a “tough stand” at Friday’s so-called Friends of Syria conference in Paris, and a no-fly zone to prevent military forces “flying over defected soldiers and civilians and bombarding them.”
Russia, a key Syrian ally, is opposed to any military intervention and isn’t taking part in Friday’s conference.
US and European diplomats are expected to threaten new sanctions on President Bashar Assad’s regime if he fails to quickly implement a UN-brokered peace plan.