Syrian army build-up on edge of contested Damascus suburb

December 7, 2012 10:26

BEIRUT - The Syrian army fired rockets into and reinforced its positions around two Damascus suburbs on Friday, resident opposition activists said, as it battles to isolate the center of the capital from recent rebel offensives.

Opposition activists said forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had sent troops backed up by tanks to Moadamiah and Daraya, suburbs to the south west of the city that are close to a large military airport.

If rebels can hold those two districts they will have a continuous arc of control from the northeast to southwest of the capital, cornering Damascus against the Qasioun mountain range.

"Fifteen tanks arrived at the edge of Moadamiah this morning after and a night of very heavy artillery shelling and rocket fire into the suburbs," said an activist who asked not to be named. "They are trying to storm the area," he added.

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