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110 dead or wounded in escalated fighting near Damascus

AMMAN, Nov 16 (KUNA) -- Fighting between the Syrian regime forces and opposition groups have escalated on outskirts of the Syrian capital, amid a series of air strikes on the gunmen strongholds, the Syrian Monitor for Human Rights said on Thursday.
The monitor said the regime forces targeted towns in East Ghouta with artillery fire and rockets. The gunmen positions were also targeted with some 550 air strikes, the monitor said, indicating that stepped-up fighting left 110 people dead or wounded.
The government troops and allied paramilitary forces have suffered 29 deaths since the intense battle broke out on Tuesday, the monitor said adding that the group, "harakat ahrar al-sham," was involved the fighting.

Meanwhile, the opposition-run "sham al-ekhbariah" news network quoted opposition activists in Harasta as accusing the regime forces of employing chlorine gas in the fighting in East Ghouta.
The report said the regime forces used the contaminating gas at a location near Harasta after fighters of "ahrar al-sham" advanced and took over the spot.
Many fighters and a number of journalists suffered from suffocation after the regime forces used the gas in the fighting with the opposition groups in the region, it said. (end) tk.rk