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Report: Syrian Army Seals Damascus, Prepares ‘Martyrs’

The Syrian army continues to prepare for strikes with Damascus shutdown, ‘martyr’ pilots.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/29/2013, 6:25 PM

View of the Syrian capital Damascus
View of the Syrian capital Damascus
AFP/File

The Syrian army is blocking off entrances to Damascus in advance of anticipated airstrikes by Western armies, Lebanese media outlets reported Thursday.

According to Al-Arabiya, quoting Syrian rebel sources, the Syrian army is also continuing to evacuate its bases in the region, and has left the Damascus international airport.

Residents of Damascus are reportedly storing food, water and other essential supplies in case airstrikes begin in the near future. Those living near army command centers have evacuated their homes.

However, Al-Arabiya also spoke with many Damascus residents who appeared unconcerned, and said they do not believe there is cause to panic.

The British Guardian spoke to a Syrian army officer who claimed that the army has also prepared crews of “martyrs” who are willing to stop United States warplanes using kamikaze attacks.

"If the US and British armies launch a single rocket we will launch three or four, and if their warplanes raid our skies they will face hell fire,” he declared.

"If we are unable to shoot down their warplanes with artillery, we have military pilots who are ready to attack these foreign warplanes by their own warplanes and blow them up in the air."

Thirteen pilots, and a total of more than 8,000 Syrian soldiers, have expressed willingness to die in suicide missions if necessary, he claimed, adding, “I myself am ready to blow myself up against US aircraft carriers to stop them attacking Syria and its people."

The Syrian regime continues to deny involvement in the chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that has led U.S. and British leaders to openly consider military intervention.