DAMASCUS, Syria – Government troops fired tank shells and artillery in heavy clashes between Syrian forces and rebels Sunday on the edge of Damascus, where the military has been pushing its offensive to retake key districts that have been in opposition hands for months.
The Syrian army has seized the momentum in the civil war over the past three months, wresting back territory lost to rebel forces and solidifying its hold over contested areas, particularly on the fringes of Damascus. Two of the embattled districts are Jobar and Qaboun .
A Syrian military commander said forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have recaptured 60 percent of Jobar, south of Qaboun, and were trying to retake the rest. The commander talked to reporters Sunday during a military escorted tour of Jobar organized by the Information Ministry. His claim could not be independently verified.