27 November 2013, 14:03

A terrorist attack in the area of As-Soumariya bus station, west of Damascus, has claimed 15 lives, while some 40 other people are reported injured, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ilya Kramnik reports from the scene of the event. (PHOTO)

According to a doctor of the Muassar city hospital, the condition of some 30 of the injured is grave. Some have had their limbs cut off; others are suffering from penetrating wounds of abdominal cavity, head or vertebral column injuries.

A suicide bomber is said to have set off a car bomb. The explosive device wasn't large, - the reason why it wasn't detected by car remote control scanners, yet the nearby pedestrian overpass with travelling stairs was badly damaged, with the debris covering dozens of metres around ground zero.

Some reparations have already been made, but how much it will take to repair the overpass is anyone's guess.

As-Soumariya is a key transportation hub; - it's the terminus of several bus routes and a place to change to interurban services at. The frontline is just several hundred metres away, and it's there that government army units are deployed to block the armed gangs of rebels in the west of Damascus.

According to reports from Syria, the government troops checked the enemy counteroffensive at the southern approach to Damascus. Following bitter fighting in the last 72 hours, involving aircraft and heavy ordnance, the enemy has been driven away from the strategically important city of Al-Outeiba, at the entry to East Gouta, - the green belt in the environs of the capital city.

The Al-Watan news service reports that the rebel forces that tried to break through to Damascus from Jordan's border have been defeated. Government troops struck back in the environs of Dayr-Salman, Boukhariya, Al-Qasmiya, Nashabiya and Deir al-Asafir. The attacks of jihadists from the Jaysh al-Islam, or Army of Islam, and Jabhat an-Nusra, or Victory Front, were likewise repelled near the cities of Marj, Adra and Kharasta. According to Al-Watan, 115 terrorists, mostly foreign mercenaries have been wiped out.

Government army units are continuing their mopping-up operation in the Kaliamoun mountainous country, 80 kilometres away from the capital city. The Damascus – Homs highway has been provisionally shut off. This created an acute shortage of petroleum products in Damascus, with car owners waiting in lines (in their cars) outside the filling stations, according to eyewitnesses. The authorities have pledged to settle the problem within the next few days.

Meanwhile, the government army has already launched assault operations in Nabaka and Deir Atiyah, which have been captured by rebel fighters. The troops have regained several bridgeheads of major importance. Government troops and military hardware have been concentrated in the area. They are engaged in heavy fighting on top of a mountain near Deir Cherubim's monastery where the national defence forces have repelled several enemy attacks. The military command is using choppers for raids into the enemy territory.

In Aleppo, in the north of the country, government army units prevented rebels from capturing the city of Hanasir, thus denying the enemy the opportunity to unblock their logistics support lines.

The Syrian military expert Salim Harba believes that the armed opposition, which has dramatically stepped up fighting outside Damascus and Aleppo in recent days, will try to make the most of what time is still left before the Geneva peace conference (due to be called on January 22nd, 2014) to change the situation on the frontline in their favour. But the expert feels this will prove very hard to achieve.

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