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Syria: Government troops fight back against rebels in Damascus

The move is an attempt to take over rebel-held areas in Damascus and Aleppo, two of the biggest cities in the country.

This citizen journalist image shows a destroyed vehicles after fighting between rebels and Syrian troops in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in south Damascus
This citizen journalist image shows a destroyed vehicles after fighting between rebels and Syrian troops in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in south Damascus
Image: AP Photo

FIGHTING IS CONTINUING in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo, amid fears that the violence may spill to nearby countries.

The BBC reports that government forces have launched assaults on rebels in Damascus, while troops took back control of Mezzeh.

Meanwhile, the European Union foreign chief says the escalating bloodshed was sparking concerns that the conflict may spill over into neighbouring countries.

EU foreign ministers are scheduled to endorse a plan today that would enforce the existing arms embargo by asking the member nations to board ships and aircraft carrying suspicious cargo to the war-torn nation.

The inspections will only take place on the territory or in the territorial waters of EU states.

Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign police chief, said the embargo is an attempt to prevent weapons from reaching Syria.

Bashar Assad

The Arab League’s secretary general has offered Syrian President Bashar Assad a “safe exit” for him and his family if he steps down.

Nabil Elaraby made the proposal at an Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Doha, Qatar, early this morning.

The League also promised $100 million for Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

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Assad has shown little inclination to step down. In his first public statements since a devastating rebel bombing wiped out his top security officers, Assad told his new army chief of staff yesterday to “continue the armed forces’ pursuit of terrorists.”

The death toll from Syria’s clashes has reached 19,000, according to the latest figures from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

- Additional reporting AP

Read: Syrian war – fierce fighting continues in Damascus and Aleppo>

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