The Syrian forces killed at least 32 rebels on Wednesday in the countryside of the capital Damascus, media reports said.

Over 20 rebels were killed when the Syrian military shelled the rebel-held suburb of Douma in the eastern countryside of Damascus, Xinhua reported citing the state news agency SANA.

In northern Damascus, the Syrian military pummelled rebels’ positions in the Al Qalamoun region, killing 12 rebels and injuring more than 20 others, the pan-Arab Al Mayadeen TVreported.

Violent battles have flared up in the eastern countryside of the capital lately, as the Syrian troops attempted to strip the rebels of key areas and the latter responded with heavy mortar attacks against government-controlled districts in the capital, leaving many people killed or injured.

Separately, the Syrian forces recaptured a strategic site in the central province of Hama on Wednesday, making it possible to expose rebel positions in the town of Helfaya where intense battles have been raging for days between the army and the radical militant groups.

According to the U.N., the long-running conflict in Syria has led to more than 190,000 deaths. It has also sent three million people fleeing to neighbouring countries in search of refuge and a further 6.5 million displaced inside their war-torn homeland.

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