Beirut, 22 July
Syrian army shelling destroyed the historic mausoleum of a companion of the Prophet Mohammed in the central city of Homs today, a monitoring group and activists said.
Reports of the destruction of the Muslim pilgrimage site emerged as an intense army campaign to reclaim rebel-held areas of Homs, a strategic junction city, entered its fourth week.
“Activists from the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood in the city of Homs have reported the destruction by army shelling of the mausoleum of the prophet’s companion Khaled bin Walid,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Housed in the rebel area of Khaldiyeh, the Khaled bin Walid mosque had already suffered significant damage during earlier fighting for control of the city.
75 rebels killed
Syrian activists say government troops have killed at least 75 rebels over 24 hours in battles for control of the capital, Damascus, reported the Associated Press. The death toll reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today included 49 rebels killed in an ambush in Damascus’ northeastern suburb of Adra early yesterday. The group says an elite unit loyal to President Bashar Assad ambushed the rebels as they were trying to push into the city.