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Syrian Troops, Rebels Battle for Control of Damascus





Witnesses say Syrian rebels and government troops fought pitched battles Wednesday inside Damascus, as two suicide bombings killed nearly 20 Syrian security personnel in the ancient city of Palmyra.

Amateur video shows a purported attack on a government position in the Damascus district of Joubar. Activists say this is part of a multi-pronged attack on government forces.

Witnesses inside the capital say the army fought back with artillery, with no clear results reported on either side.

The rebel Free Syrian Army issued a declaration calling Wednesday's assault an operation to "liberate" Damascus. The statement listed six participating rebel brigades, including the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.

Forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad have focused on protecting the capital. This has kept dozens of rebel groups fragmented and apparently unable to form a united front in Damascus.

The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have died since the Syrian conflict began in March of 2011.

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