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Syrian army launches offensive near Damascus
Question of the Day
On Sunday, activists said three civilians, including a 16-year-old, died in fierce fighting in the suburb of Kfar Batna. There was heavy shelling there and in the nearby suburbs of Saqba and Arbeen, they said.
“Troops this morning stormed Kfar Batna, Hammouriyeh and Ein Tarma,” said an activist who identified himself as Mohammad Doumani, based in the Damascus suburb of Douma. “It looks like the regime has launched an operation to regain control of those areas.”
Mr. Doumani said dozens of families were fleeing Ein Tarma and nearby areas, headed to Damascus. Amateur videos posted on the Internet showed residents, including women and children, fleeing on foot carrying bags stuffed with belongings as the crackle of gunfire resonated in the background.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three people were killed in Kfar Batna as well as an army defector near the Damascus suburb of Zabadani. It said one person was killed in the central city of Homs, and another in the capital, when troops fired on a funeral procession for a victim of Saturday’s‘ fighting.
The Local Coordination Committees activist network said 13 people were killed on Sunday.
The Syrian state-run news agency, SANA, said “terrorists” detonated a roadside bomb by remote control near a bus carrying soldiers in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya, killing six soldiers and wounding six others.
Among those killed in the attack some 12 miles south of the capital were two first lieutenants, SANA said.
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef contributed from Cairo.
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