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Syria Pounds Rebels with 60 Airstrikes
October 29, 2012

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In one of the sharpest signs that the holiday cease-fire is well and truly over, Syrian government warplanes launched a total of 60 airstrikes against opposition targets across the country.

Punctuating the assault were a special focus on opposition outposts in Damascus, the capital. Overall, it was the highest intensity in air raids since the public opposition to President Bashar al-Assad began 19 months ago. At nearly the same time, a large car bomb exploded in an opposition stronghold in Damascus.

Human rights activists estimate that about 500 people have been killed on the four days during which guns and other weapons were meant to be silent. Both sides accused the other of breaking the cease-fire.

Armed opposition groups, such as the Free Syrian Army and the Front to Liberate Syria, have benefited in recent months from an increase in weapons and money, but Syrian government forces have an overwhelming advantage in aircraft and heavy artillery.

Meanwhile, about 150 members of the opposition, including leading members of the political organization the Syrian National Council, met in Turkey for a three-day discussion on future courses of action. Opposition forces have control of large parts of the country but lack a united front or a true geographic power base.






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