Mortar attack hits Damascus suburb
Rebels line a dirt escarpment as they look towards Syrian army positions south of the highway town of Maraat al-Numan on November 17, 2012. [Getty Images]
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A deadly attack was launched by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on the town of al-Nabk, a Damascus suburb on Friday, according to a statement from the Syrian National Coalition (SNC).
In the statement, the SNC called on countries of the “free world” to “protect civilians in Syria and to intervene immediately,” to bring peace and security to the war-torn country.
The death toll is yet to be announced by activists or the SNC, which said that men, women and children were killed in the attack.
The latest violence follows warnings from British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Friday that unless a solution is found in 2014, the conflict in Syria threatens to tear the country apart, reported Agence France-Presse.
“If the conflict continues, Syria itself could disintegrate and with extremism growing create ungoverned space in the heart of the Middle East,” AFP quoted Hague as saying at the opening of the annual Manama dialogue on security Friday.
The city of Raqqa, one of the first areas to revolt against Assad’s regime at the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011 had recently seen the last batch of forces loyal President Bashar al-Assad leave, but the residents opposing the regime were still not at ease.
Several Jihadists and Islamist groups fighting against the regime started fighting among each other for the power and governance of Raqqa.
This struggle to gain power led to public executions of rivaling rebel groups and other arbitrary activities to claim power over the city.
“We have always been very clear that a peaceful solution in Syria must require the departure of President Assad,” Hague told a press conference in Kuwait City after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.
“It is impossible to imagine after so many deaths, so much destruction, a regime oppressing and murdering its own people on this scale” should remain in power, Britain's chief diplomat said.
“It is impossible to imagine, I think, President Assad could remain on the scene in Syria in the future,” Hague said.
The reiteration of Britain's call for Assad's ouster came just weeks ahead of an international peace conference on Syria slated for January 22.