BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say the government's elite Republican Guard forces have been fighting with rebels outside the capital today.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the battles erupted near Republican Guard housing compounds and bases in two Damascus suburbs. The say at least six people have been killed.
Syria's state-run news agency confirms the fighting, and claims it started when dozens of gunmen attacked civilians and troops in one of the suburbs. The news agency says dozens of rebels were killed and others captured.
The Republican Guard is commanded by President Bashar Assad's younger brother and is tasked with protecting the capital.
Today's fighting reflects the rebels' growing boldness. While government troops and rebels have clashed regularly, it's rare for fighting to take place near Guard bases.
131-v-29-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)--There's fighting near the Syrian capital. More from AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo. (26 Jun 2012)
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132-c-12-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"intense encounters there"-AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo reports there's a battle between Syrian forces and rebels near the capital, Damascus. (26 Jun 2012)
<<CUT *132 (06/26/12)>> 00:12 "intense encounters there"