Rebel fighters hit the office of the ruling Baath Party with rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday, bringing outright armed conflict into Syria's capital.
Damascus had been largely insulated from the unrest that has spread to towns and cities around Syria, but insurgents are growing bolder, even as President Bashar al-Assad continues to press on two fronts. The country's ruler is pressing ahead with a domestic crackdown on dissidents, while trying, so far in vain, to thwart the efforts of other governments in the Arab League to put a stop to his harsh tactics, The New York Times reports.
The blow to the party headquarters was largely superficial, The Times reports.
The group said that an hour later unidentified men on motorcycles fired a rocket-propelled grenade on the Baath party offices, in the upscale neighborhood of Mazraa, that hit the outside wall of the building. The group said that before security forces reached the area, insurgents fired two other rocket-propelled grenades that did not strike their target.
Like other attacks so far on government installations in Idlib and the capital’s suburbs, it seemed to be more of a symbolic message than a real threat. In destruction and carnage, they pale before the worst episodes in the last uprising in the late 1970s and early 1980s that threatened the Assad family’s four decades of rule.
Meanwhile, the Assad regime waved off Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's warning that the nation was entering "civil war" as "wishful thinking" on the part of the U.S., AFP reports.