BEIRUT – Syrian warplanes bombed Damascus suburbs and rebel-held areas in the country’s north Wednesday as the government blasted the European Union for endorsing a newly formed opposition coalition.
The raids struck several eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital and the strategic northern city of Maaret al-Numan, a key supply route linking Damascus and the commercial hub of Aleppo, said two activist groups. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees also reported violence elsewhere in Syria.
The state-run news agency SANA said the army continued its pursuit of “terrorists” in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen, inflicting casualties on the enemy. The report also said that attackers targeted a mosque in a Daraya suburb.
Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011 with an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime. The crisis has since morphed into a civil war, with scores of rebel groups across the country fighting government troops. Nearly 40,000 people have been killed, according to activists.
The civil war has often spilled over to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled to the three countries as violence in Syria rages, raising fears of a wider war in the region.
Turkey’s government requested deployment of NATO’s Patriot surface-to-air missiles on Wednesday to bolster its defenses along its border, NATO officials said.