'Assad forces pound Damascus suburbs, 15 dead'

Tanks storm Daraya following day-long bombardment to drive rebels out; at least 150 wounded in the fighting.

By REUTERS
August 23, 2012 13:41
Free Syrian Army, Syrian Army soldiers clash

Syria fighting 370. (photo credit: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)

 
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AMMAN - Syrian forces backed by tanks stormed Daraya, on the outskirts of Damascus, on Thursday after 24 hours of artillery and helicopter bombardment to drive out rebels, opposition sources said.

The bombardment killed at least 15 people and wounded 150 in Daraya, situated on the southwest edge of Damascus, the sources said.

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Troops were conducting house to house raids in the conservative Sunni Muslim town and making their way to the town's center, meeting light resistance from rebels who appear to have largely withdrawn from the area, activists in Damascus said.

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"They are using mortar bombs to clear each sector then they enter it, while moving towards the center," said Abu Zeid, one of the activists. He was speaking by phone from an area adjacent to Daraya.

Other activists said the army was also shelling parts of the suburb from Qasioun, which overlooks Damascus, and from Republican Guard barracks situated near a hilltop presidential palace.

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