BEIRUT — Syrian warplanes bombed rebel areas near Damascus on Thursday as President Bashar Assad’s troops battled opposition fighters for control of the road linking the capital to the country’s largest airport.
Assad’s forces are trying to drive out rebels who have established enclaves in the suburbs. While the government has lost control of large swaths of territory in the country’s north and east, including parts of the northern city of Aleppo, the capital remains tightly secured.
Conditions in the city have worsened, however, with prices for basic goods rising and fuel in short supply. US officials said Thursday that they believe Assad’s sister and mother have left the country, suggesting that hardship has reachedthe leadership’s families.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported bomb attacks and clashes in Damascus suburbs, saying at least 13 people were killed. The group, which relies on contacts inside Syria, said fighter jets bombed the southwestern suburbs of Daraya and Moadamiyeh, where fighting has raged for weeks.
The group also reported heavy fighting near Damascus International Airport and said the regime was shelling the town of Aqraba along the airport road.