Syria says 'terrorists' blow up gas pipeline

State television says blast near Lebanese border causes 460,000 cubic meters of gas to leak.

By REUTERS
January 30, 2012 11:56
1 minute read.
Pipeline that leads gas from Egypt to Israel

Egyptian gas pipeline 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

BEIRUT - Syria's state news agency said on Monday that a "terrorist group" blew up a gas pipeline running between the center of the country and its coast.

The pro-government Addounia TV station also reported the attack and said the blast, which occurred near Telkalakh, close to the Lebanese border, caused a leak of about 460,000 cubic meters of gas.

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Syria has faced gas shortages as pipelines come under attack while President Bashar Assad's forces try to crush protests and an armed insurgency aimed at toppling him.

On Sunday, armored forces loyal to President Bashar Assad took control of eastern suburbs of Damascus from opposition fighters after two days of bombardment and fighting with rebels, activists said.

"The Free Syrian Army has made a tactical withdrawal. Regime forces have re-occupied the suburbs and started making house to house arrests," Kamal, one of the activists, said by phone from the eastern Ghouta area on the edge Damascus.

A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, under which army defectors fighting Assad's forces are loosely organized, would not be drawn on operational details but said tanks had entered the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

"Tanks have gone in but they do not know where the Free Syrian Army is. We are still operating close to Damascus," Maher Naimi told Reuters by phone from Turkey.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a total of 41 civilian deaths across Syria on Sunday, including 14 in Homs province and 12 in the city of Hama. Thirty-one soldiers and members of the security forces were also killed, most of them in two attacks by army deserters in the northern province of Idlib, it said.

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