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  • Syrian army troops and Shia fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad captured two southern suburbs of Damascus on Friday, killing at least 70 people, opposition activists said.

    The fighters, including some from the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah and Iraqi Shias backed by Syrian army tanks, searched al-Thiabiya and Husseiniya, a Palestinian refugee camp, for pockets of resistance after overrunning them, the sources said.

    The capture of the two districts, located between the two main highways leading to Jordan, strengthens Assad's hold on major supply lines and puts pressure on rebel brigades under siege for months in areas adjacent to the centre of Damascus. [Reuters]
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