Shells hit Damascus as Syrian troops gain more ground in Homs



A mortar shell hit a service center in al-Qaboun district in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday, injuring 24 people, while another mortar shell landed in neighboring Barzeh district, official SANA news agency said.

Al-Qaboun and Barzeh lie on the Eastern edge of the capital and border the suburban districts of Harastan, Duma and Jobar, where opposition militias still have an active presence.

Syrian Army on Sunday discovered a factory to manufacture and store toxic chemical weapons ran by the opposition, according to an army source. Among the seized material are containers with chlorine and mortar shells that could be filled with the substance.

The source also identified that some of the material were made in foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia.

In the meantime, the government troops maintained a steady pace in pushing the opposition out of the central city of Homs and rural Damascus, according to state media.

SANA said the army has made advances in a dozen of neighborhoods and villages in and around Homs city, which has seen intense fighting since last month between the two sides.

Analysts believe that the outcome of the struggle for this strategic city will have a great impact on the course of the conflict, in which now the Syrian government apparently has the upper hand.

The UN now put the death toll in the 28-month-long conflict at about 93,000, but activist groups such as the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights reported much higher numbers.



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