DAMASCUS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Syrian armed rebels recently carried out attacks in the capital and in the north, heightening international concerns about the development of the Syria crisis.
Intense clashes had been raging on for weeks in the southern suburbs of Damascus between government troops and rebel warriors.
On Friday, armed militiamen sabotaged power cables, cutting electricity in several districts of the capital, SANA news agency reported.
The report quoted Electricity Minister Emad Khamis as saying that the sabotage acts led to the damage of high-voltage wires that feed Damascus. Backup generators were operated to partially cover the damaged ones and the whole maintenance work would be finished within 48 hours.
On the same day, the rebels warned that the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo would be included in their military targets.
Meanwhile, activists said the security forces launched a campaign at the capital's central district of Midan during the electricity outage. They also said 10 people were killed during an airstrike on the Damascus suburb of Muadamieh.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based activist group, said more than 40 people were killed Friday nationwide.
The activists' accounts could not be checked independently.
In the northern province of Aleppo, SANA said, tens of militants were killed Friday in a "qualitative operation."
The new developments of the Syria crisis attracted international concerns on Friday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was not going to undertake anything which could lead to "regime change" in Syria. He called on all sides of the Syrian conflict and foreign players to abide by the Geneva agreement.
Lavrov told Lakhdar Brahimi, joint U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, by phone that there should be no alternative to the implementation of the Geneva communique, which calls for an all-Syrian dialogue.
Adama Dieng, the special adviser of the UN secretary-general on the prevention of genocide, voiced his deep concerns at the great pains which the Syrian people are suffering in the long-standing violence in the Middle East country.
"A peaceful, political solution is vital in saving lives" in Syria and "that solution belongs to the Syrian people," he said.
As to the humanitarian situation, a total of 144,755 Syrian refugees were staying in Turkey, according to a Turkish official statement.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati vowed not to close the Lebanese-Syrian border.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that the Syrian government forces were continuing to launch Scud missiles within the last few days, which highlighted the need for effective defense and protection of NATO member state Turkey.
A majority of the Dutch parliament supports the decision of the cabinet to send two Patriot batteries to Turkey, Dutch news website Nu.nl reported, adding that the Patriots will leave for Turkey on Jan. 8 and operate in the second half of the month.
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- A senior UN official on Friday voiced his deep concerns at the great pains which the Syrian people are suffering in the long-standing violence in the Middle East country, saying that "a peaceful, political solution is vital in saving lives" in Syria and "that solution belongs to the Syrian people."
Adama Dieng, the special adviser of the UN secretary-general on the prevention of genocide, made the statement when he was speaking to a group of reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York. Full story
MOSCOW, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Moscow was not going to undertake anything which could lead to "regime change" in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
Some regional players suggested Russia to tell President Bashar al-Assad to leave his position and promised to offer him "safe haven," Lavrov told the Russia Today TV channel in an interview. Full story