Syrian troops attack Damascus suburb
Syrian troops launched a fierce assault on a Damascus suburb Thursday, days ahead of a deadline for a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, with activists describing it as one of the most violent attacks around the capital since the year-old uprising began.
The operation in Douma, along with other offensives around the country, bolstered the opposition’s claim that President Bashar Assad is only intensifying violence ahead of the April 10 deadline to implement a cease-fire. Activists say Assad wants to make gains on the ground before the truce is supposed to take effect.
Douma-based activist Mohammed Saeed reported that troops shelled residential areas with tanks “in one of the most violent campaigns against the area since the uprising started.” He said troops were using detainees as human shields as they marched into one of the suburb’s main squares, a few miles northwest of Damascus.