DAMASCUS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Intense clashes took place Saturday in the vicinity of the international airport and other airbases of Syria's Aleppo and in restive suburbs of the capital Damascus, as part of the endless violence engulfing the country since almost two years ago.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activists group said clashes were still ongoing between the government forces and the rebels in the perimeter of Aleppo's international airport and the adjacent al-Nirab military airbase.
Violent clashes have also raged on since dawn Saturday between the government forces and several jihadist groups at the western part of Tal Hasel town located east of the Aleppo's international airport, the Observatory said.
It said the clashes at Tal-Hasan erupted as regular forces were trying to storm the town, adding that several neighborhoods of Aleppo's old quarters were bombarded by regular forces during clashes with rebel fighters from several factions.
Clashes have also intensified in the vicinity of the Kweirs airbase in Aleppo as the rebels have been trying to push in and take over the base since several months ago, the Observatory said, adding that the police academy at Khan al-Asal town in the countryside of Aleppo has witnessed fighting between the rebels and the government troops.
The Khan al-Asal town has been ringed by the rebels over the past four days in an attempt to overrun it, the London-based watchdog said.
It added that the Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of al-Ard al-Hamra area in Aleppo city was subject to surface-to-surface missiles overnight, adding that a child's body has been pulled off the wreckage.
Around the capital Damascus, meanwhile, the suburbs of Zamalka and Duma were bombarded by rocket launchers and mortar shells, the Observatory said, adding that the shelling damaged houses and caused injuries.
It said clashes were still dragging on between regime forces and rebel fighters around the Zamalka, adding that casualties were reported from both sides.
The Observatory also reported chaos and fighting in other hotspots nationwide.
The intensification of violence came as the rebels, backed by jihadist groups, pushed to achieve territorial gains and to storm army bases and airports to empower their positions ahead of possible negotiations.
A day earlier, the main umbrella of the Syrian opposition in exile said that it would not attend next month's Friends of Syria meeting in Rome.
The group, formed in Doha in November, said the planned boycott was in protest against a lack of international condemnation of the "crimes committed against the Syrian people."
The international community "amounts to participating in two years of killings" by keeping silent on "the crimes committed every day against our people," it said in a statement.
Due to the "this shameful international position," the coalition has also decided to quit the scheduled talks in Russia and the United States, added the statement.
The overseas opposition coalition was formed as a front in solidarity with the anti-government movement in Syria, But it has no actual weight on the ground as the rebels and their fellow jihadists rejected its calls for a civilian state in Syria.
The rebels in Syria have made it clear that their goal is to establish an Islamic emirate after destroying the current administration. The radical groups also slammed calls for negotiations put forward recently by head of the overseas coalition Moaz al-Khatib.
MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- China calls for an immediate start of intra-Syrian talks in accordance with the Geneva agreements reached by world powers, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here on Friday.
China urges all relevant parties to stop violence and launch the dialogue as soon as possible, adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude on issues such as working out a roadmap for the political transition in Syria and establishing a transitional governing body, Yang told reporters here following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Full story
MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Friday accused the United States of double standards on Syria in blocking a U.N. Security Council condemnation of a bomb attack in the Syrian capital that killed at least 53 people.
The car bomb on Thursday on a busy highway in Damascus also damaged nearby Russian embassy buildings. Full story