Syrian military claims more ground in attack

DAMASCUS — Syrian troops killed at least 40 opposition fighters in an ambush Friday near Damascus, the government said, leaving their bloodied bodies strewn on rocks near a dried-out lake along with scattered rifles and ammunition.

President Bashar Assad’s forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah gunmen also seized control of a rebel ammunition supply route on a highway linking the capital to its eastern suburbs — part of a blistering government offensive to bolster its position amid an international push for peace talks.


Assad’s forces have been gaining ground in rebel-held areas around the capital and have made progress against outgunned and fragmented fighters in several areas.

On Friday, the state-run news agency SANA said 40 rebels died in the ambush near Otaiba, adding that soldiers seized a large arms cache, including anti-tank rockets.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The area is part of a region known as Eastern Ghouta, which was the scene of a chemical weapons attack in August.

State-run Al-Ikhbariya TV station broadcast footage showing more than a dozen bodies near Otaiba lake, some wearing flak jackets strapped with ammunition. ‘‘Eastern Ghouta is a graveyard of terrorists,’’ read a scroll on the broadcast.

An unidentified Syrian army officer told Al-Ikhbariya that there were foreign fighters among the dead and that the ambush followed an intelligence tip. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 24 fighters, some of them foreign, were killed in the ambush.


The offensive coincides with an international push for a peace conference to be held in Geneva.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of