Fierce clashes in Damascus after rebel attack

Indo Asian News Service

Damascus, March 20 (IANS) Clashes broke out here in the Syrian capital after rebel groups launched a surprise attack on regime forces on the eastern outskirts here, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

The city has not seen such attacks in months, if not years, said SOHR Director Rami Abdel Rahman on Sunday, CNN reported.

The rebel fighters began the attack from the district of Jobar in northeastern Damascus, an area split between rebel and government control. The rebel factions seem to have prepared for this offensive, Rahman said.

Since the start of the conflict, the Syrian regime and allied militias have held a very tight grip on the capital. The opposition only has a few pockets of control around Damascus, including a part of Jobar.

The assault was led by Islamist groups including Ahrar al-Sham and the newly formed umbrella Jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham that includes Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, CNN reported.

Syrian state media reported that Syrian forces had repelled an attack by jiahdist fighters, who also used tunnels to attack government positions.

--IANS

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