HED: Syria (READER WON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS) government site (WHAT SITE?) in Damascus (READER WON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS ) hit by huge (HOW HUGE) bomb
Civilians (MEANING EVERYONE IN THE CITY WHO IS NOT IN THE ARMY? THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE) in Damascus (AGAIN: OUR READER DOES NOT NECESSARILY KNOW WHERE DAMASCUS IS.) have been caught in the middle (WHERE IN THE MIDDLE? SO ALL THESE PEOPLE, LITERALLY EVERYONE IN SYRIA WHO IS NOT IN THE ARMY, ARE CAUGHT ‘IN THE MIDDLE’? IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS NOT? DID YOU TALK TO THOSE PEOPLE? MIGHT HELP GIVE BALANCED PERSPECTIVE.) of clashes between government forces (WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘GOVERNMENT FORCES’ HERE?) and rebels (WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘REBELS’ HERE? BE SPECIFIC.)
A bomb (TYPE???) attack (WHAT KIND OF ATTACK????) on a Syrian (ASSUMING SYRIANS ARE PEOPLE FROM SYRIA? EXPLAIN.) government building (WHAT KIND OF BUILDING?) near Damascus has killed 31 people, (WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EVERYONE, AND NOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT 31 PEOPLE? CONFUSING.) according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE? EXPLAIN.)
Four generals (GENERALS ARE NOT CIVILIANS. CONFUSING.) were among the dead, the activist group said. (SO THE SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IS AN ACTIVIST GROUP? NOT CLEAR.)
The explosives are thought (BY WHOM?) to have been placed in the basement (IN WHICH BASEMENT???!!) meaning opposition fighters were able to breach security to get into the building. (SORRY SARAH, BUT I CAN’T PICTURE THIS AT ALL. SHOW DON’T TELL.)
There has been no confirmation of the attack by state media, or by government officials. (THIS IS GREAT.)
But Damascus has experienced increasing violence recently (SAYS WHO? NOT GETTING THIS/SEEING WHY/UNDERSTANDING THIS) as clashes between government forces and rebels in the suburbs intensify. (PLEASE USE A MORE DESCRIPTIVE TERM THAN ‘INTENSIFY’)
Three people were killed (HOW?) on Thursday (WHAT TIME?) by bombs (WHAT KIND OF BOMBS???) and mortar fire (ADD DESRIPTION HERE, PLEASE.) near the historic Old City (SARAH, THIS ISN’T A TOURIST GUIDE TO DAMASCUS. CUT.) of Damascus.
On Monday the driver (JUST THE DRIVER??? NAME, PLEASE!) [NOTE FROM EIC: WAS THE DRIVER BY ANY CHANCE A WOMAN? IF NOT, CAN YOU FIND A BUS THAT WAS DRIVEN BY A WOMAN THAT WAS HIT BY MORTAR?] of a school bus and four children died (☹. EEK. I REALIZE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE STORY, BUT IT’S A LITTLE DEPRESSING. IS THERE A WAY TO RE-PHRASE.) when a mortar hit their vehicle. (MODEL? MAKE?)
Sunday's explosion happened in the suburb of Harasta, north-east of the capital. (FIRST TIME YOU ARE MENTIONING ‘THE CAPITAL’. V. CONFUSING.)
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – a UK-based (WHERE? THE UK IS A PRETTY BIG PLACE. IS IT IN LONDON? MANCHESTER? DORSET? DERBYSHIRE? ESSEX? BIRMINGHAM? HENLEY-ON-THAMES?) activist network (ACTIVIST NETWORK DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING. ALSO. THERE ARE NO MENTIONS OF ANY GROUPS DOING CHARITY WORK IN THIS PIECE WHICH I FIND HARD TO BELIEVE, IF THESE PEOPLE ARE TRULY IN SUCH DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES. MIGHT ADD A LITTLE LIGHT TO THE PIECE.) – said it was not clear what type of bomb was used (IF THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING, WHY ARE WE QUOTING THEM? CUT.) but that the force of the blast completely leveled the building.
"Only the night staff (WHERE?) were on duty (‘ON DUTY’ IS A PRETTY BROAD TERM. TAKE US INTO THE ACTION.) when the explosion (WHICH EXPLOSION?) occurred. If the bomb had gone off an hour before, there could have been up to 200 dead," the group's head, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Reuters news agency. (IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU COULD GET RAHMAN TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE, "THERE COULD HAVE BEEN EVEN MORE UNSPEAKABLE HEARTBREAK. THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK." OR SOMESUCH.)
SUBHED: Fleeing the fighting (WAIT. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE MENTIONED PEOPLE FLEEING THE FIGHTING. YOU LITERALLY MEAN THEY ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE FIGHTING? LET’S START WITH THIS ACTION UP TOP, PLEASE.)
As well as the clashes around Damascus, there has also been fierce (IMHO PEOPLE ASSOCIATE THIS WORD WITH FASHION NOWADAYS. UP TO YOU.) fighting north of the capital, in Qara (IS THAT IN SYRIAN? CAN WE SPELL THAT IN ENGLISH?) near the border with Lebanon. (AGAIN, PLEASE LOCATE READER, I.E, “A SMALL COUNTRY ON THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, KNOWN FOR ITS OLIVES.”)
Government forces tried to storm rebel positions in the town, the Observatory said. (THIS IS GREAT.)
Thousands of Syrians have been pouring over the border to Lebanon (FIRST TIME WE ARE MENTIONING THAT SYRIA IS NEXT TO LEBANON. ESTABLISH UP TOP, WHILE LEADING WITH THE ACTION, LIKE I MENTIONED ABOVE, PLEASE.) in the past two days, taking shelter (IN WHAT? SO THESE PEOPLE COME OVER THE BORDER, AND RIGHT AWAY, THEY FIND PLACES TO LIVE? SEEMS UNLIKELY.) from the clashes, according to UN and local officials.
The UN says more than 100,000 (HOW MANY MORE?) people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad (FIRST MENTION OF BASHAR AL-ASSAD. IT SOUNDS LIKE HE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS STORY. LET’S PUT HIM UP TOP. PLEASE.) began in 2011.
More (HOW MANY MORE?) than 2.2 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries (WHICH ONES? WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE SOME ANTIDOTES HERE) while an estimated 4.25 million have been displaced internally. (INTERNALLY WHERE? ALSO – QUICK GENERAL-EDIT QUESTION: IS THERE ANY WAY TO TURN THIS STORY INTO A CHART OR LIST?)
Previously: Poetry: A Love Story
Photo via Bess Georgette/Flickr.