Known as the Watchtower, Mudar Abu Ali, his real name minus his surname which he withholds to protect his family, in Idlib Province, Syria, May 29, 2013. The Watchtower leads a network of rebel spotters in northern Syria who watch roads and military bases, broadcasting warnings about the movement of government forces.

Tyler Hicks, Nyt - Nyt

Activists: Syrian troops ambush rebels, kill 62

  • August 7, 2013 - 9:25 AM

BEIRUT — Syrian opposition activists say government forces have killed over 60 rebels in an ambush near the capital Damascus.

The state news agency SANA confirmed the ambush near the Damascus suburb of Adra at dawn Wednesday, saying "dozens" were killed.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 62 rebels died. It did not report any government casualties.

Syrian troops have been on the offensive in the suburbs of the capital in the past few months in an attempt to protect President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict started in March 2011 as largely peaceful protests against Assad's rule. The conflict later turned into a civil war.

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