[QODLink]
Middle East

Rebels killed in ambush near Damascus

Syrian army ambushed opposition fighters in the Qalamoun Mountains, leaving dozens dead, state media and activists say.

Last updated: 27 Dec 2013 17:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Syrian state television showed footage of dozens of bodies lying in a mountainous area [SANA]

Syria's army has ambushed opposition fighters in the Qalamoun Mountains, north of the capital Damascus, leaving dozens dead, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state media reported.

Friday’s attack happened between the Christian town of Maaloula and the town of Yabroud, where government forces and rebels are fighting.

Spotlight
In-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria

The UK-based Observatory said as many as 60 people were killed in the attack.

Syrian state television showed footage of dozens of bodies lying in a mountainous area, with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades next to them.

"There were about 400 of us including Saudis, Chechens and other nationalities," a badly wounded fighter who was lying on the ground told a state television reporter who was asking him about numbers and nationalities.

The fighter said he belonged to Liwaa al-Islam, a self-declared jihadist group that is one of the biggest rebel units fighting to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The state television reporter said the army tracked the fighters overnight and ambushed them on their way to the town of Jayrud, 20km southeast of Yabroud.

It was not possible to verify the report independently due to restrictions on the media in Syria.

In the town of Yabroud, on the Damascus-Homs highway, several casualties were reported amid intense shelling by regime troops.

Syria's almost three-year-long conflict between forces loyal to Assad and mostly Sunni Muslim rebels has killed more than 120,000 people since March 2011.

250

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.