Connect to share and comment
Civil strife in Syria escalates over the weekend as fighting comes within 5 kilometers from Damascus.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian state media said Monday that "terrorists" blew up a gas pipeline, the Associated press reported. The explosion happened in Tal Hosh, "which is about five miles from Talkalakh, along the border with Lebanon," the AP said.
More from GlobalPost: Syrian troops retake Damascus suburbs in "fiercest fighting" of uprising (VIDEO)
The explosion follows a weekend of escalating violence in Syria. The bloodshed began Thursday when army defectors joined rebels in Homs. Government troops then swept into the city before dawn Friday, reportedly killing over 30, including a number of children, in what activists called a “terrifying massacre.” Internet videos showed the corpses of dead children allegedly killed in the violence.
Protests surged on Friday as they have in weeks past, according to the Washington Post, with this week's rallies under the banner "Friday of the right to self defense." Rami Abdulrahman from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the Washington Post that the difference between rebels and civilians is increasingly "vague."
On Saturday the Arab League suspended its criticized observer mission to Syria, citing violence against civilians.
More from GlobalPost: Arab League suspends Syria monitor mission (VIDEO)
The Damascus suburb of Saqba, east of the capital, was flooded with over 2,000 Syrian troops and 50 tanks late Sunday after it fell to the Free Syrian Army, the BBC reported. “The Free Syrian Army has made a tactical withdrawal,” an activist told Reuters. “Regime forces have re-occupied the suburbs and started making house-to-house arrests.” Before then, rebels had set "up checkpoints where masked men wearing military attire and wielding assault rifles stop motorists and protect anti-regime protests," according to the AP. The New York Times reported that FSA-aligned fighters paraded through the town before the government assault on Sunday.
The AP reported:
Their presence so close to the capital is astonishing in tightly controlled Syria and suggests the Assad regime may either be losing control or setting up a trap for the fighters before going on the offensive.
Meanwhile, hackers sympathetic to Syria's anti-Assad uprising attacked the sites of Russian embassies in Singapore and India, with others allegedly planned. The hacker claiming responsibility for the attacks, known as Syria_DraGon, is a 20-year-old informations systems student in Damascus. In an interview, he told GlobalPost that he said "I hate injustice and tyranny practiced by the regime in Syria against the defenseless people." He went on: "you must stand with the people, even if this [leads] to my arrest and [death]."
Syrian_DraGon said he targeted Russia because of its promise to veto any Security Council resolution that calls for the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. "I want the UN to save the people of Syria," he said, "and provide us with aid and military intervention in Syria or give us weapons to freedom."
More from GlobalPost: Syrian hackers take down Russian government site