DAMASCUS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- A "terrorist" explosion rocked a pro-government suburb east of the Syrian capital of Damascus Saturday morning, leaving an unknown number of casualties, the state-run SANA news agency reported.
The blast targeted the suburb of Jaramana from the adjacent Mlaiha suburb, SANA said, spelling no further details.
Meanwhile, another local media report said the blast was from a booby-trapped car that ripped through a checkpoint in that area, adding that three mortar shells landed on Jaramana after the blast and caused material losses.
The report also said that intense clashes are currently ongoing between the rebels and the government troops near the boundary of Jaramana, which is a pro-government suburb inhabited by Druze and Christians, and the Mlaiha suburb, which has emerged as a key rebel stronghold.
Mortars and explosive-laden cars have hit Jaramana several times in the past few months, killing tens of people, wounding many more and destroying homes and shops.
UN chief to convene Geneva II conference for Syria
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon will convene the Geneva II conference for Syria, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky announced Thursday.
Ban is intensifying efforts to hold the conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in mid-November, said Nesirky at a daily news briefing held here. "It would be for the secretary-general to convene such a conference and to invite the parties to attend." Full story
Top Syrian army officer killed in eastern Syria
DAMASCUS, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- A top Syrian army general was killed while on duty in the county's eastern province of Deir al- Zour, the state-run SANA news agency reported on Thursday.
Jameh Jameh, head of the military intelligence directorate, was killed while conducting his national duty in defending Syria and its people and tracking down "terrorists" in Deir al-Zour, SANA said in a brief comment. Full story
News Analysis: Syria opposition fragments ahead of peace talks
DAMASCUS, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian opposition parties, especially those in exile and the combatants on ground, seem to have fragmented ahead of the upcoming Geneva II peace conference on Syria.
Different factions of the Syrian opposition started to disavow one another over the shape of the political future of Syria as the opposition and the rebels are divided between Islamic and secular ideologies, as the internationally-backed Geneva II conference based on a U.S.-Russian understanding to politically resolve the Syrian crisis, is around the corner. Full story