Syrian rebels make new push into capital Damascus

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BEIRUT — Syrian rebels made a new push into Damascus today, clashing heavily with troops in the rebellious suburbs of the capital and firing mortars at a presidential palace and a Palestinian refugee camp, activists said.

Rebels fired several mortar rounds at the Syrian president’s residence in the Muhajireen neighborhood in central Damascus this morning, but failed to hit their mark, said Bassam al-Dada, an adviser to the commander of the Free Syrian Army, Col. Riad al-Assad.

The regime stronghold of Damascus has seen a surge in violence this week with some of the fiercest clashes in months. In recent days, opposition fighters also stepped up assaults on high-ranking supporters of President Bashar Assad in the capital.

The rebels also have been trying to break the resistance of a pro-government Palestinian faction, which could drag the half million Palestinian refugees in Syria into the civil war.

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