Regime soldiers killed as battle for Damascus suburb continues
More than twenty members of the regime forces were killed as the army attempted to consolidate control over the opposition-held city of Daraya, outside Damascus.
A number of regime armored vehicles were also destroyed and four members of the opposition were killed.
"The regime forces launched a violent attack on the town of Daraya with more than forty barrel bombs and surface to surface missiles…increasing destruction of the city which has been under bombardment for more than three years," media activist Abdul Hamid al-Dirani told The New Arab.
He said that the army was able to fend off attempts by the army, backed by Russian airstrikes, to break into a part of the city.
The rebel-held Damascus suburb has been besieged since 2012 and has faced daily bombardment, obliterating parts of the city.
The regime managed to separate the road between the city and nearby opposition held Moadamiyeh a couple of weeks ago and since then bombings have intensified.
Pro-government sources recently told Reuters that the Russian role has expanded to include facilitating local ceasefires in rebel-held areas around Damascus, with the aim of creating a secure buffer around the capital.
Local residents of rebel-held areas in Damascus have told The New Arab of increased pressure to surrender to the regime or leave their homes.
Earlier this month, the Syrian opposition coalition warned of an impending massacre by regime forces in Darayya, stressing that the regime's actions could amount to genocide.
|Local activists share footage of Russian airstrikes on Daraya [youtube]|
The coalition statement said that the UN security council bears responsibility for any crime committed against civilians in the besieged city, totally around 12,000.
Around half of the population are women and children.