One killed, nine injured in shelling of Russian embassy in Damascus

MOSCOW Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:49pm EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - One Syrian was killed and nine others were injured during a mortar shelling of the Russian embassy in Damascus, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

One mortar round landed at the embassy's premises and the other exploded close to it, the statement posted on www.mid.ru said, killing and injuring local residents, including guards.

"We consider them (shellings) acts of terrorism, whose executors and those inciting and supervising them, should receive a deserved punishment," the ministry said.

Russia, a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has criticized the West for aiding rebels who have been fighting to topple him for more than two years in a war that has cost well over 100,000 lives.

In a statement U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the shelling and said the United States continued to emphasize that those responsible for atrocities on all sides must be held accountable.

Syrian rebels have launched several mortar and rocket attacks in recent months into the center of the Syrian capital, where many embassies and senior Syrian officials are based.

A mortar shell landed on the compound of the Russian embassy in September inflicting light injuries to two people.

The Russian mission was also damaged in February when a car bomb exploded nearby on a busy Damascus highway, killing 50 people. No one was wounded at the embassy, but that blast blew out windows in the building, Russian officials said.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Paul Simao)

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