Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rebel gunmen storm and bomb pro-Assad Syrian TV channel, kill 3 employees

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a damaged equipment storage room of the Ikhbariya TV station is seen after it was attacked by gunmen in the town of Drousha, about 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Gunmen raided the headquarters of a pro-government Syrian TV station early Wednesday, demolishing the building and killing several employees, the state media reported. Syrian officials denounced what they called a rebel "massacre against the freedom of the press." (AP Photo)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Gunmen stormed a pro-government Syrian TV channel headquarters on Wednesday, bombing buildings and shooting dead three employees, state media said, in one of the boldest attacks yet on a symbol of the authoritarian state.

President Bashar al-Assad declared late on Tuesday that his country was "at war". U.S. intelligence officials said the Syrian government was "holding fairly firm" and digging in for a long struggle against rebel forces who are getting stronger.

The dawn attack on Ikhbariya television's offices, located 20 km (15 miles) south of the capital, as well as overnight fighting on the outskirts of Damascus showed 16 months of violence now rapidly encroaching on the capital.

Ikhbariya resumed broadcasting shortly after the attack, displaying bullet holes in its two-storey concrete building and pools of blood on the floor. One building had been almost completely destroyed.