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Violent overnight clashes rock Syrian capital district

There was fighting overnight between Syrian government forces and army defectors in the Kfar Souseh district of the capital, Damascus, opposition groups said.

world Updated: May 20, 2012 23:20 IST

There was fighting overnight between Syrian government forces and army defectors in the Kfar Souseh district of the capital, Damascus, opposition groups said.

Kfar Souseh is a high-security area housing the foreign ministry and several security and intelligence agencies. It has been the scene of frequent demonstrations against the president, Bashar al-Assad, since the uprising began.

“Violent clashes broke out between rebel fighters and regime troops at a checkpoint,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Observatory and the Local Co-ordination Committees said explosions and gunfire were also heard in several other neighbourhoods of Damascus.

Syrian rebels have claimed they carried out a sophisticated attack that killed political and security officials meeting in the capital. A statement said those killed included the deputy chief of staff for security affairs, Major General Assef Shawkat; the defence minister Dawoud Rajha and the interior minister Mohammad al-Shaar.