Syrian Rebels Escalate, Shell Baath HQ

Rebels takes credit for big escalation of violence against Assad regime
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2011 5:31 AM CST
The Free Syrian Army is taking credit for two explosions that rocked the Baath party headquarters in Damascus earlier today.   (malconito2003)
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(Newser) – Two rocket-propelled grenades rocked the Baath party headquarters in Damascus this morning just before dawn, the first insurgent attack in the Syrian capital since unrest began in March, reports the Telegraph. The Syrian Free Army took credit for the attack, although the AP said that it could not confirm the claim. "It would be an escalation that gives a new dimension to the whole situation," said a Syrian-based journalist. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised to continue his crackdown, saying, "We have to prevent militants from doing what they are doing now, killing civilians doing massacres, in different places in Syria."

"Security police blocked off the square where the Baath's Damascus branch is located," said one witness. "But I saw smoke rising from the building and fire trucks around it." A Syrian human rights group said 11 people died in violence yesterday. Meanwhile, the Arab League has rejected Syria's proposed amendments to a peace plan that would allow it to maintain its membership, reports the AP. (Read more Syria stories.)

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