Drone reveals mass destruction in Syrian capital

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Drone footage has emerged giving a rare bird's-eye view of the scale of destruction caused by years of fighting in a rebel-held area of the Syrian capital.

The video taken by a state-owned Russian TV channel over the eastern suburb of Jobar in Damascus reveals a landscape laid waste with blocks of bombed-out residential buildings clouded in a fog of smoke.

Explosions send out billows of thick grey smoke as targets are hit on the ground and tanks unleash shells.

The aerial footage, shot on 18 October, also shows a complex network of long trenches used by the rebels in the conflict.

And gunmen can be seen running from building to building as they attempt to dodge artillery and aerial bombardment, presumably from Syrian warplanes.

Government troops have been battling rebels in the frontline district on the northeastern edge of Damascus since 2013.

It lies only a few miles from the presidential palace from where the Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, now backed by Russian airstrikes, retains his grip on power.

Artillery firing and airstrikes on Jobar shake the capital on a daily basis.

Neither side has been able to make a breakthrough in the fighting, although state media has reported recent Syrian army advances as part of a major offensive.

Jobar is one of a number of opposition-held areas in Syria decimated during the bloody civil war by government forces, which have used barrel bombs dropped from army helicopters.