The Syrian 'art of war' comes with a brutal punch

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More black smoke from shelling of targets in Damascus.
More black smoke from shelling of targets in Damascus. Photo: ITV News/ Bill Neely

It is rarely quiet in Damascus. Although this week has been calmer than most, that relative silence has been broken today. All morning there have been multiple artillery strikes across the city.

From their position in the hills above Damascus, the Syrian army has unleashed at least five sustained volleys of shells against targets.

A MiG warplane passed over the city twice in five minutes, the roar deafening, the damage from the bombs it dropped visible within seconds.

The government and army here have undoubtedly made gains in the last few months. When I was last here four months ago, some of the fighting was close to the centre. Now there are a couple of suburbs which the rebels still control but many of them have been pushed far outside the capital.

The government believes it has the momentum in the war for the capital. It is certainly using overwhelming force here.

The Deputy Foreign Minister told me the armed forces are using "new tactics, new ways to deal with armed groups," Faisal Mekdad added, "now we know the art of how to fight them."

It is an "art" that comes with a brutal punch.