DAMASCUS, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Intense fighting continued on Friday in the vicinity of the central prison of the country's northwestern province of Idlib, a pro-government TV said.
The fighting in the surroundings of the central prison of Idlib has been dragging on since Friday morning, Khabar TV said, adding that the armed militias have shelled one of the prison's fences with a bombshell.
Quoting a source in the area, the TV said army reinforcements have been sent to the prison as all communications with the facility have been cut off.
The fighting around the prison coincided with intense attacks by armed groups on the military checkpoints in that area, the TV said, adding that 10 gunmen were killed and an unspecified number of soldiers were injured.
It said that the air force took part in repelling the armed opposition's attack against the prison, adding that the city of Idlib is without drinking water for eight days in a row.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London- based watchdog, said the prison clashes are still ongoing between fighters from the jihadist battalions of Ahrar al-Sham and Liwa' Suqoor al-Sham and regime forces.
At least 10 rebels have been killed so far in the clashes, said the Observatory. It also said that the rebels bombarded the National hospital in Idlib with several rockets on Friday, adding that there are reports of losses.
The Observatory said clashes also took place at a military checkpoint in al-Shughour village in Idlib, adding that a rebel fighter was killed amid reports that they took control of the checkpoint.
Attacking governmental establishment is becoming increasingly common recently. A day earlier, two suicide car bombs simultaneously ripped through a military security branch in the Sa 'sa countryside of Damascus, completely razing the facility to the ground and killing most of the officers and soldiers inside, media reports said.
The blast coincided with another one that rocked the Damascus' district of Barza and caused property losses. The drumbeat of shelling resounded through most of the districts overnight.
Activists said the rebels Free Army carried the blasts at the security branch and attacks against checkpoints in the suburbs of the capital.
Earlier on Friday, the Syrian artillery blazed through the rebels' strongholds in the southern and western suburbs of Damascus, in what appeared to be a payback for Thursday's attacks. Activists reported many deaths in Friday's violence.
Despite the tense situation, the Syrian government called Thursday on the exiled opposition to return home, promising them immunity in hopes of launching an inclusive national dialogue that could bring an end to the 22-month-old conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people, according to UN figures.
PARIS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Representatives from 50 countries and organizations will meet next Monday in Paris to reaffirm their support for Syria's opposition, French Foreign Ministry said Thursday in a statement.
The meeting, also to be attended by leaders of Syria's opposition umbrella body Syrian National Coalition, aims to implement the commitment made during the fourth "Friends of Syria" meeting in December, the statement said. Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government has called on the exiled opposition to return home to participate in a national dialogue to end the 22-month conflict, as the rebels intensified attacks on a security branch and checkpoints in the countryside of the capital Damascus.
In a statement issued Thursday evening, Syria's Interior Ministry said the exiled opposition and other Syrians who have fled the country legally or illegally are permitted to come back through certain border points, adding that they would be provided with all facilitation, including the freedom to leave or stay in the country. Full story