Another day of shelling in Syria's embattled capital

Bill Neely

Former International Editor

Snow covers buildings that activists say were damaged by missiles from Syrian Air Force planes in Daraya, near Camascus Credit: REUTERS/Handout

All afternoon in Damascus I've heard the regular thud of artillery shells hitting targets. They are distant but I can hear them loud enough. It is clear these are not small mortars being fired, but shells with considerable firepower.

I spent half an hour today interviewing Syria's deputy foreign minister. Twice during that interview inside the foreign ministry, the explosions of shells could be heard clearly.

"That's not in Damascus," Faisal Mekdad told me. I think he meant that to disprove any theories that the regime is now shelling its own capital. Whatever his meaning, the sound of war is clear across the capital.

And it is not just artillery shelling. Activists say an air strike on a rebel-held town south-west of Damascus killed 20 people today. One activist said the dead were members of two families and included women and children.

Activist video footage showed images of the limp body of a boy being pulled from broken concrete, his back covered in dust and his front in blood.

One group based in Britain, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it had the names of six children killed when a building hit by the strike collapsed. But it said at least 10 people had been killed.

The air, rocket and artillery campaign is probably at its heaviest since rebels overran a helicopter base and missile base near Damascus two months ago, and encroached on the main international airport.

Rebels are holding a line of eastern and southern areas around the capital.

Nearly two years since the start of this revolution and tehre are 60,000 dead... and counting.