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Syria: Rebels, Jihadists Launch Attacks On Eastern Districts In Damascus

"Today the clashes are hard and there is no progress in the face of this ferocious bombardment that is not just limited to the frontline but all night the regime was shelling the cities and towns in Eastern Ghouta in retaliation", Wael Alwan, the spokesman for Failaq al Rahman, told Reuters.

The Syrian military source said: "They entered a narrow pocket - the same area of the (previous) breach - and now this group is being dealt with".

Assad's comments come just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Israeli air strikes in Syria, defending Israel's right to protect itself from the transfer of advanced weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Qabun is an area in northeastern Damascus that has been the target of heavy shelling by government forces in recent weeks.

AFP correspondents in Damascus said the army had closed routes into the strategically important Abbasid Square as explosions reverberated across the city.

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The bombers, a Saudi and a Syrian, detonated their explosives-laden trucks against army positions on the eastern edge of the capital amid a barrage of artillery shells that landed in the heart of Damascus.

"Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee", the army said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA. The initial rebel advance, which brought the fighting to within a mile of Damascus's Old City, ...

In the north of the country, meanwhile, a Kurdish militia said the Russian military is to train Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group.

"Despite these losses against the network of groups led by Assad, it would appear they still have the capabilities to hit back", he said.

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"Nine regime forces and at least 12 Islamist rebels were killed" in those districts over the last 24 hours, the Observatory said.

Syria's army "regained control of all the points that terrorists" had infiltrated on Sunday, Syrian state TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying on Monday. The regime responded with intense bombardment of rebel-held areas.

Rebel fighters have been granted safe passage to insurgent-held areas of northern Syria under such agreements.

More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict erupted six years ago with protests against Assad's rule.

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