The helicopter struck the tail of the plane … The control tower at Damascus airport confirmed that the plane landed safely at Damascus airport and all 200 passengers are in good health.A statement from Syrian state news channel Suriya • Describing the circumstances that led to a helicopter crash on Thursday. From the sounds of things, it could have been a much-larger plane crash. Yikes. The crash was nonetheless dramatic, with activist Mohammad Saeed describing things as such: ”We heard the sound of several explosions and some gunfire, and a few minutes later, we were told that a helicopter had crashed.”
They started three hours ago. The bulldozers are bringing down shops and houses. The inhabitants are in the streets.A woman who lives in Damascus • Describing the scene from outside of her high-rise building, in which bulldozers owned by the Syrian army have reportedly started razing buildings in the Tawahin district, an area described by activists as being hostile to Assad. The activists describe the action as collective punishment. The reports by local residents and activists could not be independently verified by reporters, but nonetheless, if that’s actually the case, that’s a whole different kind of messed-up.
» Diplomacy failing: After two days of fighting, following an army offensive aimed at retaking the Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya from opposition forces, international tension over the Syrian uprising is flaring again. Though President Obama has threatened American military action, should President Assad try to use chemical or biological weapons, Russian and Syrian officials have once again warned against Western intervention. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that both Russia and China were committed to upholding the norms of international law, and are committed to preventing their violation, while Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said that American intervention would lead to a conflict that stretches “wider than Syria’s borders.”
People are still in shock that this is happening — they thought it would be limited to one neighborhood, but it is growing in size to other neighborhoods. They are scared of chaos and lawlessness more than anything else.Syrian academic Fadi Salem • Discussing the fighting taking place in the city of Aleppo, one of the two main holdouts in the Syrian conflict, which has heated up in recent days. Pockets of the loosely-organized Free Syrian Army launched the attacks on both Aleppo and Damascus in in an effort to gain control over two of the oldest cities in the world — and the country’s two key power centers. Even if the rebel armies have to double back once the Syrian army comes in, they’ve made the point that no part of the country is safe.
The Free Syrian Army carried out this attack in retaliation for the massacres committed by the regime and because of the international silence. We promised that we are going to hit the regime in its most sensitive axis. This was necessary for us.COL. MALIK KURDI, deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army, which claimed responsibility for an attack in Damascus that killed Syria’s defense and deputy defense ministers. (via the Washington Post)