Fresh Syria violence leaves scores dead

65 killed in countryside,activists allege Assad forces killed 13 of family in Badya

Written by New York Times | Beirut | Published: July 23, 2013 2:31 am

BEN HUBBARD

Violence raged across Syria on Sunday as government forces killed dozens of rebels in an ambush east of Damascus,fighters linked to Al Qaeda battled Kurdish militias and Syria’s military peppered an outdoor market with mortar rounds.

Activists accused government forces of killing 13 members of a family in northwestern Syria’s Bayda.

In the deadliest attack,government forces ambushed a group of rebel fighters in the town of Adra,northeast of Damascus,and left dozens of dead bodies lying in the sand,according to video broadcast on Al Manar,a television station run by Hezbollah,the Lebanese militant group and political party that supports President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,an anti-Assad group based in Britain that tracks the conflict through a network of contacts on the ground,said on Monday that 65 people had been killed in the countryside around Damascus,including 58 insurgent fighters. The ambush in Adra accounted for 49 rebel deaths.

It was another blow to the rebel movement. The momentum in the civil war has shifted in favor of Assad,whose forces have rolled back a number of rebel gains near Damascus,the capital,and elsewhere. Infighting among rebels who took up arms to topple Assad has allowed his forces to solidify their hold on central Syria and gradually expand their reach.

Clashes have been raging for days across the ethnically mixed strip of land along the northern border with Turkey,pitting rebels and extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda against Kurdish militias. NYT

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