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Heavy fighting near Syrian capital

Syrian troops backed by helicopter gunships clashed with rebels Saturday as government forces pushed a major offensive on villages and towns near the capital's international airport. Internet and cellular telephones were cut nationwide for a third consecutive day.

 

The fighting over the past few weeks in Damascus is the worst to hit the capital since July, when rebels captured several neighborhoods before a quick government counteroffensive swept out the opposition fighters. Anti-government activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since the country's crisis began in March last year. (AP)