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Syrian Army Steps Up Strikes On Capital’s Last Rebel Enclave

A member of the Syrian pro-government forces stands on the rubble of destroyed buildings as troops advance through Qabun district, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on May 13, 2017, during an offensive to retake the area from opposition fighters. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

The Syrian army stepped up shelling and air strikes on the last rebel-held enclaves in the Syrian capital on Monday, its heaviest bombardment in a two-month campaign, rebels and witnesses said.

From the strategic Qasyoun Heights that overlooks Damascus, elite units of the army pounded Jobar district, some 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the Old City wall and Ain Terma just to the south.

The army’s offensive has dented a Russian-sponsored ceasefire announced two weeks ago in the Eastern Ghouta area to the east of Damascus.

Moscow has said it is negotiating with mainstream rebel groups in several areas across Syria to create new de-escalation zones and calm fighting.

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