BEIRUT – Intense fighting between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters continued around Damascus, the capital, on Friday.
Activists reported heavy shelling by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad on opposition-held eastern Ghouta and southern neighborhoods in response to an offensive this week by rebel groups trying to remove government checkpoints and seize strategic areas on the outskirts of Damascus. Opposition fighters said they downed a MiG fighter jet near the suburb of Douma.
Meanwhile, some 5,000 people are fleeing the country each day, according to U.N. officials. Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, labeled the increase in refugees “a full-on crisis.” Almost 800,000 Syrians have registered as refugees or are in line to be registered in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
Los Angeles Times