BEIRUT: Government forces stormed a rebel-held town outside Damascus today after days of fierce fighting, killing at least 23 fighters, according to an activist group and a rebel spokesman.
In neighbouring Lebanon, where the civil war in Syria has been spilling across the border, security officials said clashes between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad have left two dead and as many as 45 wounded. The army said the injured include nine Lebanese soldiers.
Damascus and its suburbs have witnessed a dramatic spike in fighting over the past month. And regime forces were further stretched when a major battle for control of the northern city of Aleppo erupted around the end of July. Before that, the fighting had been concentrated outside the big cities during the 17-month-old uprising.
It has proved difficult for Assad’s forces to put down the rebel challenge in the big cities, a sign that the regime’s grip on power over the country is loosening.
The Local Coordination Committees activist group and a rebel spokesman said regime troops entered the rebel-held town of Moadamiyeh at dawn from four points. They searched homes looking for rebels. The rebel spokesman asked to be identified by his first name only, Ahmed. He said three men in their late 20s and early 30s were shot dead execution style in the town soon after its fall in the hands of the regime forces.
The report could not be independently verified.
Japanese scribe dies in Aleppo shelling
BEIRUT/TOKYO: A Japanese woman journalist died of wounds sustained in Aleppo on Tuesday, the scene of heavy clashes between Syrian forces and rebels, a Syrian activist group said in a statement. Japan’s Kyodo news agency, quoting an official at the Japanese embassy in Turkey, confirmed the death and identified the journalist as Mika Yamamoto, an award-winning reporter who worked for Tokyo-based independent news wire Japan Press. Japan Press was not immediately available for comment.