New clashes in Damascus

New clashes in Damascus

At least one person has been killed in clashes that erupted at dawn in a neighbourhood in the Syrian city of Damascus, according to reports.

Fighting broke out between rebels and security forces in Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood on the eastern side of the medieval city centre, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Residents said shots lasted for about half an hour between 3am and 4am.

Violence has been rare in the city’s Christian areas, which have for the most part not joined the 17-month rebellion against the regime of Bashar Assad.

Rebels staged a fierce battle for Damascus two weeks ago but were crushed by government forces. Operations to search for neighbourhoods sympathetic to rebels have been ongoing for the past weeks.

The development came as rebels and government troops battled for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and the current focus of its civil war, where days of violence have forced at least 200,000 people to flee.

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