DHAKA: Dozens of people have been killed in fierce clashes between Syria troops and opposition fighters, mainly in the suburbs of Damascus, monitoring groups have reported.
Opposition forces and Syrian army units were locked in fierce clashes around elite Republican Guard posts in the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist monitoring group, said on Tuesday.
‘Violent clashes are taking place around positions of the Republican Guard in Qudssaya and Al-Hama’, eight kilometres from central Damascus, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told the AFP news agency, reports Al Jazeera.
Fighting has intensified in past weeks in and around the capital, where government buildings and security posts are heavily defended, but the violence on Tuesday was the most intense in the area, Abdel Rahman said.
‘This is the first time that the regime uses artillery in fighting so close to the capital’, he said.
‘This development is important because it`s the heaviest fighting in the area and close to the heart of the capital.’
Al Jazeera from Beirut said that the reports of clashes in Damascus were significant as most opposition attacks on the Syrian army had previously only been overnight attacks.
‘This shows how desperate rebels are to bring the fighting to capital and also how desperate the Syrian government is to keep opposition fighters back’, she said.
The opposition fighters blew up an artillery gun at the entrance to Qudssaya, said Abdel Rahman.
‘These suburbs are home to barracks of troops which are very important for the regime like the Republican Guard’, he said.
Syrian activists in the outskirts of Aleppo also said that 280 soldiers defected in Idlib near the main highway leading to Aleppo, also on Tuesday.
They said there were clashes between the defectors and the Syrian army and that one helicopter had been shot down and six tanks destroyed.
BDST: 2103 HRS, JUN 26, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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