DAMASCUS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Clashes continued Friday in a number of hotpots across Syria, most notably in suburbs of the capital Damascus, where activists claimed the rebels have downed a military airplane.
Pro-government media said the Syrian troops have advanced in rooting out insurgency from the Damascus' suburb of Qudsiah and Hameh. The troops started their operations in those affected areas on Friday after a week thick with violence and tensions there.
Meanwhile, activists claimed the rebels have downed a Syrian warplane over the eastern al-Ghouta area near Damascus on Friday.
In a shaky video uploaded onto YouTube, a pickup truck appeared dragging what the video narrator said was a part of the plane's wreckage.
But the authenticity of the video could not be verified with the absence of comments from official media.
However, a pro-government Facebook news page said the war jet was downed and its pilot identified as Colonel Bassam Nasser was killed.
A number of warplanes have been allegedly downed by the armed rebels recently, in a sign of how resourceful the armed opposition has become.
Meanwhile, activists also reported unprecedented airstrikes on restive areas in central Homs province.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said aircraft and artillery targeted the neighborhood of Khaldiya and also on the districts of Old Homs, such as Qusour and Jourat al- Shayah.
The Observatory said a big explosion was heard near the Kawkab village in the central province of Hama, adding that the area groups many government checkpoints. It gave no further details on casualties or material losses.
The Observatory placed the death toll of Friday's violence at 40, 14 of whom were unarmed civilians. Yet such accounts could not be checked independently.