Syrian army foils major offensive near Damascus

Li Jiayao

DAMASCUS, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Tuesday foiled an attack by the rebels on a military base in the northeastern countryside of the capital Damascus, according to state news agency SANA.

The report said the army thwarted the attempts of the rebels to storm a military base known as the Vehicle Directorate in the town of Harasta northeast of Damascus.

Tens of rebels were killed during the attack, said the report.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels of Liwa Fajir al-Ummah, which is in control of Harasta, launched wide-scale offensives on the military base in the outskirts of Harasta.

It said intense fight raged between the government forces and the rebels near the base amid an exchange of shelling.

The UK-based watchdog group said the government forces shelled Harasta with over 80 shells and carried out seven air raids on that town.

Other activists said the deputy director of the base, Major-General Walid Khwashiqji was killed in the attack.

Activists also reported clashes in several areas in the rebel-held parts of the eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

The attack and the intensification of violence near the capital have been dragging on for days with the rebels renewing their mortar attacks on residential areas inside the capital.

On Tuesday, mortar shells launched by the rebels struck areas in the eastern part of Damascus and the old city, leaving many wounded.

Areas in the eastern countryside of Damascus were included in the de-escalation zones' deal, which is supported by Russia and Egypt.

But despite the deal, sporadic attacks occurred every now and then in that part of the capital.


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