Regime blows up dozens of houses, 3 mosques in West Ghouta

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The regime demolished dozens of residences and three mosques using explosives in neighborhoods surrounding the Mezzeh military airport on Monday and Tuesday, al-Madenah News reported, in a two-day campaign to fortify the area southwest of the capital Damascus from rebel attacks. The demolitions near the West Ghouta city of Darayya came “after the regime found out about an operation that rebels were planning in a neighborhood overlooking the airport,” Mustafa al-Dirani, spokesman for the pro-opposition Syrian Media Commission in Damascus and Its Countryside told Syria Direct on Wednesday. While rebels hold the southern part of Darayya, the rest is in regime hands. The nearby Mezzeh military airport is one of the most important regime airbases in the country. “The regime steals houses, then digs trenches and places mines and explosive devices to blow them up,” al-Dirani said, adding that regime campaigns since 2012 have destroyed an estimated 500 houses and more than 40 mosques in attempts to shore up its defenses in the area. In a stroke of creativity, the regime contracts with large companies to sell the rubble of destroyed houses for use in other construction projects, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.