In Syria, heavy fighting reaches outskirts of capital
The fighting outside Damascus comes a day after the Arab League announced it was suspending its observer mission to Syria.
Syria’s military sent tanks to neighborhoods on the outskirts of Damascus Sunday in an attempt to quell the most intense fighting yet seen so close to the capital, one day after the Arab League announced it would suspend its observation mission.Skip to next paragraph
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The spike in violence throughout the country – rights groups say more than 100 people have been killed since Thursday – comes days before the UN Security Council plans to vote on a resolution calling for President Bashar Al Assad to step down. The UN says more than 5,400 people have died so far in Assad’s crackdown on an uprising against his regime.
The Associated Press reports that nine people died over the last day in clashes on the eastern edges of Damascus. Rights activists said that three people died in fighting in the suburb of Kfar Batna, and reported heavy shelling in that area as well as nearby suburbs. The state news agency, meanwhile, reported that an “armed terrorist group” bombed a bus carrying army personnel, killing six people and injuring six others. The state news agency said the bomb was a remotely detonated.
The government attack on the suburbs began after the Free Syrian Army, largely made up of defectors from Syria’s military, occupied the area, reports the BBC. According to activists, the assault involved more than 2,000 troops and 50 tanks. Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the BBC that “the Syrian regime is trying to finish the uprising militarily now that the case is being taken to the United Nations."