Amid growing tensions between Turkey and Syria, with cross-border shelling taking place between the two countries on a daily basis, the fighting between insurgents and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad intensified Monday, with rebel sources putting the death toll for the day at 165.
In Monday’s fighting, the rebels reportedly shot down a Syrian Air Force MIG fighter plane near Aleppo, the historical city ravaged by heavy fighting in recent weeks.
Also Monday, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a compound of the Syrian intelligence service on the outskirts of Damascus, a Syrian official said. There was no immediate word on casualties, the official said.
The pro-government Al-Ikhbariya channel said the explosion in the Harasta suburb was followed by armed clashes. Syrian rebels are increasingly targeting security compounds in Damascus, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s blast.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had now counted 32,079 dead since the uprising began — among them 22,980 civilians and civilians-turned fighters, 7,884 members of the Syrian military and 1,215 army defectors fighting alongside the rebels.
In the past week alone, more than 1,200 people were killed, according to the head of the Observatory, Rami Abdul-Rahman, who said he only counts named victims or those whose death is verified by other means, such as amateur video.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul described the situation in Syria as “worst-case scenarios.” Gul urged the international community to take action, asserting that Turkey would continue to do everything necessary to protect its borders.
“Our government is in constant consultation with the Turkish military. Whatever needed is being done immediately as you see, and it will continue to be done from now on too,” said Gul.