Syria says it has killed 175 rebels in a dawn ambush of an opposition stronghold near the capital, Damascus.
State television quoted a field commander Wednesday as saying that most of the rebels killed in the eastern Ghouta area belonged to the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front that has joined other insurgents in trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
State news agency SANA said some of those killed in the attack came to Syria from Saudi Arabia, Chechyna and Qatar.
The attack was confirmed by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said "dozens of Islamist fighters were killed and wounded." The group, which has been monitoring the nearly three-year-old Syrian conflict, said 70 rebels were killed, but another 89 were reported missing.
The assault appears to be one of the government's deadliest against rebels in months.
The eastern Ghouta area outside the Syrian capital is a key rebel enclave. It was the target of a chemical attack in August 2103 that killed hundreds of people.
More than 140,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since it started in March 2011.
Some information for this report was provided AP, AFP and Reuters.