AMMAN - Heavy fighting between rebels and government troops erupted overnight in the capital of an oil producing province in eastern Syria, residents and activists said on Sunday, the latest escalation of violence in a tribal area bordering Iraq.

Rebels armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked tank positions in the eastern sector of the city of Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates river, in response to an army offensive against several towns and villages in the province that have killed tens of people in recent days, they said.

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