Fighting cuts access to Damascus airport, flights suspended
BEIRUT (REUTERS) - Syrian rebels battled forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad just outside Damascus on Thursday, cutting access to its international airport, and Dubai-based Emirates airline and EgyptAir stopped flights to the Syrian capital.
The Internet and some telephone lines went down across Syria. Rebels and the government traded blame for the blackout, the worst communications outage in 20 months of conflict.
Rebels fighting to topple Assad have been making gains around Syria by overrunning military bases and have been ramping up attacks on Damascus, his seat of power.
A rebel fighter who identified himself as Abu Omar, a member of the Jund Allah brigade, told Reuters that insurgents fired mortars at the airport's runways and were blocking the road linking it with the capital.