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Violent overnight clashes rock Syrian capital district

world Updated: May 20, 2012 23:20 IST

Agencies
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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.