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Last updated: October 19. 2013 5:36AM - 292 Views
Associated Press



In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke billows amid buildings at a bomb explosion in Daraya, a countryside of Damscus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Syrian warplanes bombed several rebel-held areas Tuesday and opposition fighters fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Damascus on the first day of a major Muslim holiday, activists said. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP Video)
In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke billows amid buildings at a bomb explosion in Daraya, a countryside of Damscus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Syrian warplanes bombed several rebel-held areas Tuesday and opposition fighters fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Damascus on the first day of a major Muslim holiday, activists said. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP Video)
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(AP) Syrian rebels assaulted a checkpoint in a pro-government suburb of Damascus on Saturday, setting off a suicide vehicle bomb that killed 16 soldiers, activists said.


The state news agency SANA confirmed the blast in the suburb of Jaramana and said it caused casualties, but did not give a number.


The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that rebels led by the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, or Nusra Front, carried out the attack while trying to capture the checkpoint near the town of Mleiha adjoining Jaramana. It reported heavy fighting after the blast.


Rebels control much of the countryside around Damascus but Jaramana, a Christian and Druse area, is mostly loyal to President Bashar Assad. Opposition fighters have previously targeted it with bombings and mortar rounds.


Assad has drawn support from Syria's ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and members of his Alawite sect. The rebels are dominated by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority.


At least 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the country's civil war, now in its third year.


Associated Press
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