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The development in Syria

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Syrian opposition activists say regime forces have swept through neighbourhoods south of the capital Damascus in a deadly military operation that has inflicted casualties. By some activist estimates, dozens of people have been killed. The figure could not be independently confirmed.

The development comes amid fighting around the embattled city of Aleppo.

Syria’s state-run news agency said on Thursday that army forces have raided rebel hideouts in Yalda as well as Jdaidat Artouz, both southern suburbs of the capital, and had killed and arrested “a number” of militants.

SANA says the operation began on Wednesday evening. It says Syrian troops targeted terrorists the government’s term for armed opponents of the regime.

A rebel assault on Damascus was crushed two weeks ago, but many areas remain sympathetic to the rebels.

BATTLES RAGE AROUND ALEPPO COUNTRYSIDE

Meanwhile, intense explosions have erupted along Syria’s border with Turkey as fighting rages around the embattled city of Aleppo.

The blasts are coming from near the rebel-held town of Azaz, across the border from the Turkish town of Kilis. The area is a key route for refugees and rebels heading to fight in Aleppo, some 50 km away.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a rebel tank is shelling a military airport near Aleppo, among the first reported use of heavy weapons captured by the rebels.

The Observatory says seven people, mostly women and children, were killed when their village of Abiyeen outside Aleppo was shelled early Thursday morning.

Fighting over Aleppo, Syria’s main commercial hub has lasted nearly two weeks. – The Hindu