Damascus, Syria, Wakes Up to Massive Rocket Attacks

Syrian rebel group calls deadly shelling retaliation for government attacks.

— -- Residents of Damascus, Syria, awoke Thursday morning to rocket attacks in the center of the city, apparently by the Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), the second attack in as many weeks.

Syrian state news agency SANA said five people were killed and at least 30 injured when missiles hit areas near the city’s famous Umayyad mosque. Local radio station Sham FM said the projectiles hit at least five areas of the city, according to Reuters.

Jaysh al-Islam claimed today's attacks in central Damascus were retaliation for government attacks two days ago on an area where the group operates in the town of Douma, located in the eastern Ghouta farming belt near Damascus. Charles Lister, an expert on Syria and current visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, pointed to a Twitter account believed to be operated by Jaysh al-Islam leader Zahran Alloush.

Alloush tweeted that the group was retaliating against the “horrific massacres” committed by government warplanes in Ghouta.

A Twitter account linked to the group’s website also claimed responsibility for today’s attacks.

Following this morning’s shelling, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory on Human Rights said the government was pounding areas to the northeast of the city, killing at least 12 and wounding some 100 people.

The videos below are described as showing the government strikes in Douma and the aftermath.

Credit: YouTube/Yasser Dumaini

Credit: YouTube/Yasser Dumaini

Credit: YouTube/Yasser Dumaini