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Syrian army strikes and urges rebels to abandon weapons


08:43, April 09, 2013

DAMASCUS, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army has made strides in fighting the armed opposition fighters entrenching in suburbs of the capital Damascus, the state-media said Monday.

The army has encircled the sprawling eastern al-Ghouta suburb amid reports that it has almost taken control over the area while still pushing rebels out.

The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said Monday that the army used artillery and air forces to strike the rebels' positions in the Ghouta area, adding that many armed men have been either killed or injured.

The general command of the army said on Sunday that the army is still going on with its "noble mission in catching the remnants of the criminal murderers of Jabhat al-Nusra and the NATO's mercenaries."

"To whoever holds up a weapon against the state, be rational and hurry up to abandon your weapon. The personnel of the Syrian Arab army are coming," a text message sent to Syrian mobile phones reads on Sunday.

The message urged terrorists to surrender as part of the army's cleansing operation of the eastern Ghouta areas in Damascus' outskirts.

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