Wednesday 21 February 2018

Mortar shell hits Chinese embassy in Syria

Syrian president Bashar Assad
Syrian president Bashar Assad

A mortar shell hit the Chinese embassy in Syria's capital Damascus today, damaging the building and wounding one person, Chinese state media have reported.

Insurgents fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have launched mortar and rocket attacks on the city centre in recent months, including in the upscale al-Maliki neighbourhood where the Chinese mission is located.

China's state news agency Xinhua said opposition forces had launched the shell, which fell into the embassy and damaged doors and windows. A Syrian employee suffered minor injuries, it said, without adding details.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement that China was "shocked by the incident and strongly condemns it".

Syrian state news agency SANA reported that mortar shells had landed near the embassy but did not mention any casualties.

The Iraqi consulate in the same neighbourhood was hit by a mortar shell last week, killing an Iraqi woman, and a shell struck the Russian embassy a few days earlier, wounding three people.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has sources across the country, said mortars also fell on the Kafar Souseh and Tishreen neighbourhoods in Damascus on Monday.


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