In Syria, 20 Killed in Palestinian District of Damascus
The Syrian government and opposition activists exchanged accusations Friday after a mortar attack killed at least 20 people in Damascus’ sprawling Yarmouk district, home to tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Graphic video said to be from the scene showed the bloody and smoky aftermath: charred bodies, dazed victims, battered building — scenes that have been repeated with a numbing regularity in strife-ravaged Syria.
The United Nations said 20 people were killed and 10 were injured in the attack.
The barrage late Thursday on the southern outskirts of the capital appear to have struck when many people were in the streets after dusk, when Muslims break their Ramadan fast. Yarmouk is home to more than 100,000 people, including one of Syria’s largest concentrations of Palestinian refugees.
Opposition activists blamed government forces that have been battling rebels based in nearby Tadamon and other districts. Much of the Tadamon area fell under rebel control last month, along with other capital neighborhoods. A determined military counterattack seemed to bring most of the capital back under government control, though there has been sporadic fighting in recent days.
The government has for months adopted a strategy of shelling civilian districts suspected of housing opposition fighters. Human rights advocates have condemned the practice that, the opposition says, has caused the deaths of many civilians.