DAMASCUS, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- A spate of explosions rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus within the past 12 hours, leaving no casualties but material damage, while the Syrian troops are poising to regain control over a time-honored mosque in the northern city of Aleppo.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-packed car before dawn Sunday in front of a residential building at the upscale district of al-Mazzeh in Damascus, causing material damages only with no casualties.
Images appeared online showed the impact of the damage on nearby buildings, most notably on the In-house cafe, which bustles with youngsters around the clock every day.
The blast apparently targeted a government troops' checkpoint in the area, which groups a number of foreign embassies, including the Iranian one, and also some headquarters and houses of Syrian officials.
Hours later, an explosive device affixed under a civilian car went off at another part of al-Mazzeh, severely injuring a Syrian journalist who works for a local weekly magazine, reports said.
The blast of the explosive device coincided with the detonation of a roadside bomb, which went off on the southern highway of Damascus, injuring a passing-by lawyer.
Blasts have become increasingly common in Syria, particularly in the capital, as the protracted crisis is getting more complicated.
An al-Qaida-linked group calling itself al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for almost all the blasts that rocked military and security installations nationwide that resulted in scores of deaths among military personnel and civilians alike.
Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV quoted sources as saying that the Syrian troops are preparing for a major operation to regain control over the time-honored Umayyad Mosque in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo.
The centuries-old large mosque has reportedly buckled under the control of the armed rebels, who announced last month the beginning of their "decisive battle" to win control over the crucial northern slice of Syria.
The rebels' battles have brought destruction to all the areas in which they have passed, most notably the old quarter in Aleppo, which groups the oldest covered markets in the world that was regarded by the UNESCO as a world heritage.
Battles in Aleppo are incessant with no clear victor till the moment.
The armed rebels, buoyed by many foreign extremists, are feverishly fighting against the Syrian troops in hopes of declaring a de facto capital akin to the Libyan scenario when the rebels there had used Benghazi as a launching-pad of their assaults.
Meanwhile, the Mayadeen TV said the Syrian troops wrested control over an air base near Damascus after the armed rebels managed to storm it a day earlier.
Also, the Lebanese OTV said many armed elements have fled on Sunday the central Syrian town of al-Qusair toward the al-Qa'a border town in neighboring Lebanon due to the heavy shelling of the Syrian army on al-Qusair, which has spiraled largely out of the government control recently.
Syria's official media said the army is advancing on the ground in al-Qusair and other hotspots nationwide.
In the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, the pro-government Sham FM said the government troops carried out a qualitative operation there, killing 72 armed men and injuring 150 others.
Meantime, the Syrian media said the Syrian troops finished Sunday rooting out insurgency from the Damascus suburbs of Zibdeen, Deir al-Asafir, Shaba'a, Mohamadieh and Jisreen, the state-run SANA news agency reported, giving no further details.
The cleansing campaign is part of the army's operations nationwide to mop out the rampant armed insurgency that has engulfed a considerable number of Syrian cities.
In separate accounts, activists reported heavy shelling by the Syrian troops on many hotspots across the unrest-ravaged country, which has resulted in an undisclosed number of casualties and injuries.
Syria has been plagued since last year by a domestic unrest that started with anti-government protests and evolved into an armed rebellion. Activists said more than 23000 people have been killed since last year, blaming the government of being behind the escalation of violence, while the Syrian government blamed the bloody unrest on armed groups and extremists backed by a foreign plot.
DAMASCUS, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian state-run newspaper said Sunday that Turkey's grounding of a Syrian civilian plane last week was a "stupid and reckless" action.
"Regardless of their intents, what the Turkish authorities have recently done regarding the Syrian civilian plane has no other synonym in the international political dictionary but a stupid and reckless action," Tishreen daily, a mouthpiece of the Syrian government, editorialized Sunday. Full story
DAMASCUS, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Blasts and clashes continued in several Syrian hotspots on Saturday, as the tension between Syria and Turkey keeps gaining momentum.
At least nine people were killed Saturday when a car bomb blasted at a suburb of the capital Damascus, activists said, adding that a child and two women were among the killed. The blast that rocked al-Nabek also left 13 people injured. Full story
STANBUL, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said here Saturday that Ankara will do what is necessary if Syria again violates its border.
"We will do what needs to be done if our border is violated again," he told reporters while he had a bilateral meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the Syrian crisis in Istanbul's Hilton Hotel. Full story