Rockets hit Russian embassy compound in Syrian capital

Rockets hit Russian embassy compound in Syrian capital
Insurgents fired two shells at the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital on Tuesday as hundreds of pro-government supporters gathered outside the compound to "thank Moscow for its intervention".
2 min read
13 October, 2015
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the Russian embassy in Damascus [Getty]

Two rockets struck the Russian embassy compound in Damascus on Tuesday sparking panic as several hundred people gathered to express their support for Moscow's air war in Syria.

Some 300 people had begun to gather for a demonstration backing Russia's recent intervention in Syria when the rockets crashed into the embassy compound in the Mazraa neighbourhood of the capital, AFP journalists at the scene said.

There was widespread panic, but it was not immediately clear if anyone had been wounded or killed.

The demonstrators had been waving Russian flags and holding up large photographs of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the rockets were fired from the eastern edges of the capital, where Islamist rebels are entrenched.

The Russian embassy has been the target of rocket attacks before.

On September 21, just nine days before it began its air war in Syria, Moscow demanded "concrete action" after a shell hit the embassy's compound in Damascus.

In May, one person was killed by mortar rounds that landed nearby. Three were hurt when mortar rounds landed inside the compound in April.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday described the shelling of Moscow's embassy in Damascus as an "act of terror" aimed at intimidating those who support Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria.

"It is a clear act of terror meant to scare supporters of fighting terrorism," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

"We are counting on the perpetrators being found and that measures be taken to prevent such acts in the future," Lavrov said, adding Moscow would investigate the incident along with Syrian authorities.

On Tuesday, Russia's defence ministry said its air force had hit 86 targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, destroying "terrorist" command posts, training camps and ammunition depots.

Lavrov was on Tuesday meeting the United Nations' Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Moscow for the first time since the Kremlin launched its bombing campaign.