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syria - Mar 16, 2012 - 11:44

Last modified: 16 Mar 2012 08:44

Activists say Syrian troops have fought with army defectors in several areas near the capital of Damascus.

The clashes in the suburbs of Qatana, Dumair and Tal came six weeks after President Bashar al-Assad's forces retook areas around the capital in a major military operation.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fight in Tal lasted until the early hours of Friday. The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees said the battles began Thursday.

The earlier drive to retake the Damascus suburb was followed by regime offensives to expel rebel forces from the Baba Amr district of Homs and Idlib in northern Syria.

[Associated Press]