* Rebels capture several military bases over past 2 weeks
* Syrian jet shot down - video footage
* Russia sent tonnes of cash to Syria in summer - ProPublica
By Oliver Holmes and Erika Solomon
BEIRUT, Nov 27 Syrian war planes attacked towns
in the country's north and east and killed at least five
civilians in a strike on an olive oil press as fighting raged in
the capital Damascus on Tuesday, opposition activists said.
Rebels battled government forces in the Damascus suburb of
Kfar Souseh, on the edge of the centre of the capital, said the
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring
The latest fighting followed recent battlefield gains by the
rebels in their struggle to topple President Bashar al-Assad
although it was far from clear if a strategic breakthrough was
likely any time soon.
Syrian state television said that two people were killed and
four wounded in a "terrorist suicide car bomb" in Artouz, near
Damascus. The Observatory said the explosion was caused by a car
bomb next to a military police checkpoint.
Near the Old City, a second car bomb killed one person and
blew the legs off another man, according to opposition activist
Samir al-Shami. He said it was unclear if the car, a white
Toyota, was rigged by Assad loyalists or rebels.
The rebels also shot down a military helicopter on Tuesday,
according to video footage posted on YouTube which showed a
missile hitting the aircraft.
The Local Coordinating Committee opposition group said the
Free Syrian Army had downed a helicopter near the Sheikh
Suleiman army base, 30 km (20 miles) northwest of the contested
city of Aleppo.
Combat also took place in the Baba Amr district of Homs
city, an area that was overrun by government troops in February,
as well as in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Deraa, Idlib province and
Hama province, the Observatory said.
A government jet dropped barrel bombs - cylinders packed
with explosives and petrol - at the Abu Hilal olive oil press, 2
km (1.2 miles) west of Idlib city, activist Tareq Abdelhaq said.
At least five people were killed and five wounded in the
attack, the Observatory said. Abdelhaq said at least 20 were
killed and 50 wounded.
The victims were civilians waiting to press their olives for
oil, according to activists, who acknowledged rebel fighters
were in the area.
An estimated 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since
March last year when protests inspired by the Arab Spring broke
out against Assad, whose family has ruled autocratically for
four decades. Assad has relied on fighter jets, helicopters and
artillery to subdue the revolt, which started peacefully but has
become a full-scale civil war.
Rebels have captured at least five army and air force
installations in the past 10 days, putting pressure on Assad's
forces in Aleppo and Idlib and the eastern oil region of Deir
The opposition are calling for international military aid,
particularly against air attacks, but Western powers who support
the uprising are wary of radical Islamist units among the
However, some anti-aircraft equipment has been seized from
captured army bases.
The government also launched air strikes on Deir al-Zor city
and on the strategic town of Maraat al-Numan in Idlib province
The rebel takeover of Maarat al-Numan last month effectively
cut the main north-south highway, a route for Assad to move
troops from the Damascus to Aleppo, Syria's largest city where
rebels have taken a foothold.
Most foreign powers have condemned Assad, and Britain,
France and Gulf countries have recognised an umbrella opposition
group, the Syrian National Coalition, as the sole representative
of the Syrian people.
But Assad has been able to rely on his allies, especially
regional powerhouse Iran, to withstand the international
challenge. Russia and China have also vetoed three United
Nations Security Council resolutions that condemn Assad.
Nonprofit news website ProPublica reported yesterday that
Russia sent 240 tonnes of banks notes to Damascus this summer.
U.S. and European sanctions include a ban on minting Syrian