AMMAN - Syrian rebels battled President Bashar Assad's forces near the main intelligence base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday as helicopter gunships bombarded several districts of Damascus in an effort to drive out insurgents, witnesses said.

Fighting raged in other parts of Aleppo, Syria's main commercial and industrial hub, while in the capital Assad's forces appeared to clawing back territory, driving rebels from Mezze district, residents and opposition activists said.

Elite Fourth Division troops were besieging the northern Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh, they said.

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