Clashes continue as minister says Syria "stronger than all schemes"

2012-11-24 21:49:35 GMT2012-11-25 05:49:35(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Clashes between the Syrian government troops and the rebel fighters still raged on on Saturday, as the country's interior minister said Syria is " stronger than all schemes hatched by terrorists and conspirators."

State-run SANA news agency said some armed radical rebels affiliated to the so-called Jabhat al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida- linked group, put up posters on the walls of residential buildings in al-Mashhad area in the northern province of Aleppo, demanding to occupy the residents' houses and asking them to leave.

"The terrorists aim at looting and burglarizing the houses," SANA said, calling on the residents to stay in their houses and do not heed to the terrorists.

In the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, SANA said army troops clashed with terrorists at al-Jubeilah district and killed many of them.

Moreover, SANA said the army forces clashed Saturday with armed groups in the Damascus' suburb of Daraya and delivered heavy blows to them.

Clashes have also continued in a number of hotspots in the southern and eastern suburbs of Damascus, such as in Zamalka, Bait Sahem and the resort town of Zabadani.

On the opposition side, activists said that mortar attacks targeted a residential area in Damascus' district of Barzeh, adding that the neighborhood was witnessing intense clashes. Mortar attacks were also reported to have taken place in Damascus' suburbs of Qaboun and Esali.

Also, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), an activists' network, said that two blasts targeted the Military Police headquarters in al-Qaboun area, giving no further details.

The LCC placed the death toll of Saturday's violence at 52. But the activists' account could not be checked independently.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also an activists' network, said last week that more than 40,000 Syrians had been killed during the 20-month-old crisis in Syria, including 28,026 civilians and rebel fighters, 1,379 defectors, 10,150 soldiers and 574 unidentified people.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Syria's Interior Minister Let. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar said that his country is "stronger than all schemes hatched by terrorists and conspirators" during a speech on the occasion of the graduation of military academy students in Damascus.

"What is important for the United States is protecting Israel's security and monopolizing the Arab petroleum, Washington will do anything to secure these issues, whether through direct occupation or through plotting schemes to create and escalate conflicts in the Arab region," al-Shaar said.

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