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  • Syrian helicopters dropped explosives-packed barrels near rebel-held Yabrud on Tuesday, a monitoring group said.

    The strikes come a day after at least 15 rebels were killed fighting in the Yabrud area, north of Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group relying on contacts inside the war-torn country.

    The group supported reports from activists on the ground, who said the village of Sahel is still a contested area, a day after the army claimed it had taken it over completely.

    The mixed Muslim and Christian town of Yabrud lies on the strategic highway linking Damascus to Homs, Syria's third city, and is close to the Lebanese border and crucial rebel supply lines. [AFP]

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