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Syrian official says troops have captured most of the strategic Damascus suburb of Daraya

  • db612d9457fa5301260f6a706700d10f.jpg

    This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian rebel posing next to a damaged Syrian air force helicopter, at Taftanaz air base that was captured by rebels, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday Jan. 11, 2013. Islamic militants seeking to topple President Bashar Assad took full control of a strategic northwestern air base Friday in a significant blow to government forces, seizing helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket launchers, activists said. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN) (The Associated Press)

  • 9a88a91657f25201260f6a7067003616.jpg

    This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows rebels from al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, wave their brigade flag as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter, at Taftanaz air base that was captured by the rebels, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday Jan. 11, 2013. Islamic militants seeking to topple President Bashar Assad took full control of a strategic northwestern air base Friday in a significant blow to government forces, seizing helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket launchers, activists said. The Arabic words on the flag read:"There is no God only God and Mohamad his prophet, Jabhat al-Nusra (their brigade name)". (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN) (The Associated Press)

A Syrian government official says troops have captured most of the strategic Damascus suburb of Daraya and claims the area will be safe within few days.

The official told The Associated Press on Saturday that the army is battling some small pockets of rebels in the area just south of Damascus.

A government takeover of Daraya would provide a boost to the regime's defense of Damascus.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Syrian forces have been trying to capture Daraya from opposition fighters for weeks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Daraya and other suburbs of the capital were being shelled on Saturday.

The violence comes a day after rebels said they have captured a strategic air base in the north.

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