Internet down nationwide in Syria

Government blames technical snag

The operation around the capital comes days after rebels made significant advances around Mr. Assad’s seat of power. Last week, they captured a major helicopter base just outside the capital, and rebels and activists recently said a major opposition offensive on Damascus was in the works.

Despite months of sporadic fighting and crumbling security in Damascus, the city’s airport has remained open.

But the fighting Thursday prompted both the Dubai-based airline Emirates and EgyptAir to temporarily suspend flights to Damascus.

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