40 KILLED, 70 HURT IN CLASHES NEAR DA­M­AS­CUS

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD -

Fierce clashes between ji­hadists and Is­lamist rebels near Da­m­as­cus left at least 40 dead and 70 wounded on Fri­day, a mon­i­tor­ing group said.

The

Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights

said the clashes pit­ted the Saudi-backed rebel fac­tion Jaish al-is­lam (Army of Is­lam) against Fateh al-sham, Al-qaeda’s for­mer branch in Syria, and Fay­laq al-rah­man, which is backed by Qatar and Turkey.

“There were at least 15 dead among the ranks of Jaish al-is­lam and 23 among its ad­ver­saries” as well as two civil­ians, the Bri­tain­based Ob­ser­va­tory said. Another 70 were wounded. Jaish al-is­lam said its op­po­nents had pro­voked the clashes by ha­rass­ing re­in­force­ments headed for Qabun, east of Da­m­as­cus a front with

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