April 6, 2014 / 10:47 AM / in 4 years

Two killed by mortar fire near Damascus opera house: state media

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Two people were killed when mortar fire hit the grounds of the Damascus Opera House in the Syrian capital, state media said on Sunday.

Government forces are also battling rebels in Damascus’ outskirts including the eastern suburb of Mleiha, which saw heavy fighting on Saturday.

“Two citizens were martyred and eight others wounded ... by mortars fired by terrorists at the opera house in the Abbassin area in Damascus,” a report on state news agency SANA said on Sunday. It did not what day this happened.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are in control of central Damascus but rebels have been able to launch mortar and rocket attacks into the city’s centre, sometimes hitting heavily-secured upscale districts and embassy grounds.

A day earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said a mortar fell near the Russian embassy in central Damascus, and two more mortar rounds landed near a security building. No casualties were reported.

The Observatory, which monitors violence through a network of sources in Syria, said government helicopters dropped barrel bombs in the northern province of Aleppo, Deraa in the south and Latakia in the west as fighting raged across the country.

Syria’s three-year-old conflict has killed more than 150,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.

Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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