DAMASCUS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Several mortar shells rained down the Syrian capital of Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least three people and leaving injuries as well as material losses, as Britain and France seemed determined to render arm support to the rebels on ground in the hope of tilting the balance of the two- year conflict to the rebels' side.
Multiple mortar shells landed at the area between Damascus' districts of Kafar Souseh and Fahameh, killing three people and injuring 50 others, the state-run SANA news agency said. The UK- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, placed the number of those killed at five, including two children.
The Observatory said the mortars landed in the vicinity of the State Intelligence branch in that area near an orphanage, adding that the number of killed may rise due to grave condition of some wounded people.
Several other shells slammed the Khan al-Sheih camp for Palestinian refugees just outside Damascus, the Observatory said, stopping short of giving details on potential casualties.
Meanwhile, clashes have flared in several hotspots outlining Damascus on Wednesday, namely al-Maliha, Jdeidat Artouz, Adra, al- Thiyabiya, the Hseiniya Palestinian camp, the Observatory said, adding that one person was killed due to a mortar shell attack on the Yarmouk camp.
Politically, Britain and France seem to have become more eager to arm the rebels on ground in the hope of tipping the balance of fighting in favor of the rebels.
Britain's Cameron has noted that if the EU refused to lift the arm embargo imposed against arming the Syrian rebels, his country would bypass the embargo and act solely.
"Britain is to keep open its options on providing arms to Syrian rebels after David Cameron indicated that Britain would be prepared to bypass the EU arms embargo if other member states refuse to lift the measure in May," the Guardian said Wednesday following Cameron's discussion with a parliamentary committee.
"I hope that we can persuade our European partners, if and when a further change becomes necessary, they will agree with us," Cameron told a parliamentary committee. "But if we can't, then it' s not out of the question we might have to do things in our own way. It's possible," he added.
Last week, Cameron approved the provision of providing four- wheel drive armored vehicles and body armor for Syrian opposition rebels as part of a 9.4 million Euro package of non-lethal equipment.
Meanwhile, France has hinted that it would urge the EU to agree to amend the arms embargo to allow the supply of arms as it called for a "new balance of power" in Syria.
"We understand the idea of not adding weapons to weapons, but that position doesn't work in the face of reality..." Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
While the official statements indicate only willingness to render arms to the rebels, some Western reports have actually stated that the arms had been already shipped over to the rebels.
The British Daily Star Sunday has recently published a report, claiming that Britain's government had sent "a secret 20 million Euros arsenal of weapons to Syrian rebels, including rifles, machine guns and missiles."
"The cache -- enough to arm 1,000 fighters -- is stashed in neighboring countries and could be in rebels' hands" soon, the paper said on its web page, citing what it called "a well-placed Whitehall source."
"A secret arsenal has been set up," the paper said adding that "if the European Union arms embargo is lifted, the cache will be opened and the weapons shipped out."
The German Der Spiegel also reported that U.S. troops deployed to the Jordanian border have been engaged in full-scale training operations for rebels Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The Syrian government has repeatedly called on the UN to push the rebels' regional and international backers of halting the armament and bankrolling of the rebels in order for the national dialogue to start.
A recent UN tally placed the overall death toll of Syria's two- year conflict at more than 70,000 people and the number of Syrians that have sought shelter outside the country at 1 million in addition to millions of internally displaced.
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