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Syrian forces have reportedly fired artillery and rocket barrages at rebel-held Damascus suburb of al-Tal

Last modified: 25 Jul 2012 03:47

Syrian forces on Wednesday fired artillery and rocket barrages at the northern Damascus suburb of al-Tal in an effort to seize the town from rebels, causing mass panic and forcing hundreds of families to flee the area, residents and opposition activists said.

The 216th mechanized battalion headquartered near Tal was bombarding the town of 100,000 people at the rate of one projectile every minute, and initial reports indicate that residential apartment blocks were being hit, they said.

Tal, located eight kilometres (five miles) north of Damascus, fell into rebel hands last week along with several districts in the capital and on its outskirts after a bomb killed four of President Bashar al-Assad's top lieutenants.