Syria starts new year with air strikes and shelling of civilians

President Assad is apparently going to use the only advantage he has over the rebels; his air power and artillery. Reuters: Syrians woke on New Year's Day to countrywide aerial bombardment, while President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebels fighting to topple him clashed on the outskirts of the capital. Residents of Damascus entered the new year to the sound of artillery hitting southern and eastern districts that form a rebel-held crescent on the outskirts of the capital, the centre of which is still firmly under government control. In the centre, soldiers manning checkpoints fired celebratory gunfire at midnight, causing alarm in a city where streets were largely deserted. "How can they celebrate? There is no 'Happy New Year'," Moaz al-Shami, an opposition activists who lives in the capital's central Mezzeh district, said over Skype, his voice trembling with anger. He said rebel fighters attacked one checkpoint in the district of Berzeh early on Tuesday. Opposition groups...(Read Full Post)