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Bomb shell kills 5 Syrians, clashes rage in surrounding of Damascus


08:33, February 01, 2013

DAMASCUS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- At least five people were killed Thursday when a mortar shell slammed their bus that was heading to the Syrian capital of Damascus from the northern province of Hasaka, a pro-government TV said, as activists reported heavy fighting in several hotspots around Damascus.

Al-Khabar TV said the five, including a young girl, were heading to Damascus from Hasaka after the crack of dawn, adding that a mortar shell hit their bus from unknown source near the Damascus' suburb of Nabk.

Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said violent clashes took place Thursday on the international highway linking Damascus with the southern province of Daraa at the point between the Damascus suburbs of al-Qadam and Daraya.

The Observatory added clashes have also raged on in other Damascus' suburbs, such as Harasta and Arbeen.

The international highway between Damascus and Daraa has reportedly been closed off since Thursday morning due to the incessant clashes nearby.

The drumbeat of shell bombs was heard throughout adjacent areas to Daraya as thick and black smoke mingled with dark rainy clouds filled the skyline over the troublesome area, witnesses described.

The battles in Daraya, a sprawling suburb that combines residential blocs and large swathes of agriculture farms, have been raging since more than two months ago. Local media said the army is getting closer to regain control over the area and dislodge the armed rebels.

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