BEIRUT — The Latest on Syria’s conflict (all times local):
The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says he expects a further escalation of Syria’s conflict because he does not believe there will be any realistic initiatives proposed in the near future to secure a political solution.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, whose group is fighting in Syria alongside government forces, said Tuesday the situation in Syria is heading toward more “tension, escalation and confrontations.”
In recent weeks, Syria has witnessed some of the fiercest violence in years, mostly in the northern city of Aleppo.
Nasrallah, who made a rare public appearance in his group’s stronghold south of Beirut, blamed the United States and Saudi Arabia for the failure of recent attempts to reach a truce.
He says despite the bloodshed, “we should work” for a political solution to end the five-year crisis.
Syrian state TV is reporting that shells fired by insurgents have struck downtown Damascus near the famous Umayyad Mosque, wounding several people.
The TV gave no further details. Such attacks have taken place a number of times in recent days as government forces mount an offensive against rebel-held suburbs of the capital.
The Umayyad mosque is close to the famous Hamidiyeh market in Damascus, which is is usually crowded with people.
Syrian opposition activists say airstrikes on rebel-held parts of the besieged city of Aleppo have killed at least eight people.
The activist-operated Aleppo Today TV station and Qasioun news agency say bunker-busting bombs were used in an attack on Tuesday on the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood in eastern Aleppo.
Other activists groups and a member of the Aleppo local council, Zakaria Amino, say the death toll is likely to rise because the bombs fell in a number of neighborhoods. Amino says rescue workers are still searching for people under the rubble.
The opposition-held part of Aleppo has been under an intensive aerial campaign since last month after the collapse of a cease-fire that barely lasted a week. Syrian pro-government forces are also pressing a ground offensive into the rebel-held districts.