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Syrian rebels riding momentum to Damascus

The fighting follows a number of gains for opposition forces in the north of Syria, which has sparked optimism among Syrians hoping for the downfall of the Assad regime. 

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After avoiding much of the sustained fighting seen throughout Syria over the course of the nation’s 20-month revolution turned civil war, Damascus entered its fifth day of ongoing clashes on Tuesday.

According to activist reports, opposition forces have been fighting with forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the capital city’s southern suburbs and near the airport. “People here in Damascus haven’t been really under real shelling so they are scared,” says Leena al-Shami, one of the founders of the Damascus Media Office.

Throughout the capital, Ms. Shami says, the Assad Army is now installing more checkpoints and most residents avoid leaving their home as they brace for what many expect will be heavy battles and shelling.

The fighting in Damascus follows a number of gains for opposition forces in the north of Syria in recent weeks, which, despite the concerns of those in the capital, has sparked optimism among Syrians hoping for the downfall of the Assad regime. While the progress is significant, a number of analysts caution that opposition groups are far from a victory.

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