Assad forces clash with rebels, 10 soldiers killed


Fierce clashes between Syrian regime forces and rebels near Damascus on Tuesday left 10 soldiers and a rebel dead, while warplanes again bombed the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain, a watchdog said.

The fighting in the east Damascus suburb of Ghuta came after rebels launched an attack on public buildings in the area, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At Daraya, a neighbourhood south of Damascus, a rebel was killed when insurgents launched an attack on a military checkpoint, while four rebels died in fighting and shelling in other outlying areas of the capital, the Observatory said. The watchdog also reported fresh bombings by warplanes of Ras al-Ain, in northeastern Syria on the Turkish border, where it said at least 16 people had died on Monday in air strikes and shelling of rebel positions.

The air strikes have sent a new wave of civilians pouring across the frontier to the Turkish side, adding to the 9,000 refugees who already fled late last week when rebels overran the town, a source said.

The Local Coordination Committees, a major network of activists on the ground, said dozens of military vehicles were headed on Tuesday towards Ras al-Ain, while the Observatory reported heavy shelling of the town.

In other violence across the war-torn country, the army shelled rebel positions in the southern province of Daraa, in the central province of Homs, in Idlib in the northwest and in the northern city of Aleppo, said the Observatory.

At least 151 people were killed across Syria on Monday, including 61 civilians, said the Observatory, which relies for its information on a network of activists, lawyers and medics. The watchdog has given an overall death toll of more than 37,000 since the revolt broke out in March 2011.

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