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Shelling sparks fire at Damascus airport

By CNN Staff
May 3, 2013 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
  • Syrian government says the raid targeted terrorists
  • Opposition says the violence was aimed at civilians
  • Dozens of people are killed in a village in the coastal region, activists say

(CNN) -- A fire broke out at Damascus International Airport when two mortar shells fired by rebels hit a kerosene tank and a parked plane Friday, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.

The blaze was controlled and air traffic returned to normal operation, the agency said.

The United Nations estimated in February that more than 70,000 people had died since the Syrian conflict began a little more than two years ago. At least 32 people died in violence across Syria on Friday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said.

Meanwhile, the death toll after a Thursday raid by government troops in the Syrian coastal region of Banias could be as high as 150 people, activists said Friday.

Central Damascus hit by bombs

Syrian state television said security forces raided the village of al-Bayda to capture terrorists. Footage on state television showed a seized cache of weapons.

Activists say the incident as another example of the regime's fierce clampdown on civilians. CNN cannot independently verify reports of casualties in Syria because access by international media is heavily restricted.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.