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Syrian army edges closer towards rebel stronghold in capital
By REUTERS
10/31/2016
AMMAN - The Syrian army and its allies seized a strategic area in the besieged rebel-held eastern Ghouta area of Damascus, tightening their grip on the biggest insurgent stronghold near the capital.

Rebels said the army stormed the town of Tel Kurdi on Sunday bringing them only a few kilometres from the city of Douma, the once sprawling urban heart of the eastern rural area of Damascus known as al Ghouta.

"After intensive battles on this front that continued more than fifty days in which the Assad militias used a scorched earth policy, the Mujahdeen were forced to retreat from the area," said Hamza Bairqdar, the military spokesman for Jaish al Islam, the biggest rebel group in the area.

Since the start of the year, Syrian government forces and their allies, including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have moved into Eastern Ghouta from the south, the southwest, and the east, helped by infighting among rebel groups that control the area.
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