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      Damascus in the Dark After Rebels Hit Gas Pipeline

      An explosion near the airport in Damascus has been followed by a blackout in parts of the country.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 10/24/2013, 1:13 AM

      Aftermath of explosion near Damascus International Airport
      Aftermath of explosion near Damascus International Airport
      Reuters

      An explosion near the airport in Syria's capital, Damascus, has been followed by a blackout in parts of the country, it was reported on Wednesday night.

      According to the BBC, power was cut after rebel artillery hit a gas pipeline.

      Residents say the entire capital has been plunged into darkness, while officials have described the power cuts as countrywide.

      Syria’s official news agency, SANA, quoted the country’s Electricity Minister, Imad Khamis, as having said that “a terrorist attack on the gas pipelines which feed the electricity generating stations has causes electricity break off in a number of Syrian cities.”

      “Terrorists” is what the Syrian regime calls the rebels who are trying to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.

      Khamis told SANA that maintenance workers are working to restore electricity to Syria.

      The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP that opposition shelling was aimed at the town of Ghasula, around 2km (1.2 miles) from the airport.

      "It is likely this was a large-scale operation planned well in advance," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

      Activists said a huge fire was seen blazing near the airport. It is unclear whether anyone was hurt.