As major Muslim holiday begins

Syrian warplanes bombed several rebel-held areas on Tuesday and opposition fighters fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Damascus at the start of a major Muslim holiday, activists said.

The fighting during Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, showed how entrenched both sides have become in Syria’s civil war, now in its third year. Previously, combatants occasionally attempted to observe holiday cease-fires.

The Syrian conflict, which began as a largely peaceful uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, has claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced millions of Syrians. The land is now a patchwork of rebel— and regime—controlled areas, with front-lines crisscrossing the country.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian regime and the exile-based political opposition must try to meet a mid-November target date for launching talks on a political transition.

In Tuesday’s fighting, rebels fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at three Damascus neighbourhoods, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from activists on the ground.

An amateur video distributed by the group shows three rockets being fired, trailed by smoke, and the narrator saying the target is Damascus.

Rebels routinely fire mortar shells at government-held areas of the Syrian capital.

Keywords: Syria war

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