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In Syria, heavy fighting reaches outskirts of capital

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Syria’s military sent tanks to neighborhoods on the outskirts of Damascus Sunday in an attempt to quell the most intense fighting yet seen so close to the capital, one day after the Arab League announced it would suspend its observation mission.

The spike in violence throughout the country – rights groups say more than 100 people have been killed since Thursday – comes days before the UN Security Council plans to vote on a resolution calling for President Bashar Al Assad to step down. The UN says more than 5,400 people have died so far in Assad’s crackdown on an uprising against his regime.

The Associated Press reports that nine people died over the last day in clashes on the eastern edges of Damascus. Rights activists said that three people died in fighting in the suburb of Kfar Batna, and reported heavy shelling in that area as well as nearby suburbs. The state news agency, meanwhile, reported that an “armed terrorist group” bombed a bus carrying army personnel, killing six people and injuring six others. The state news agency said the bomb was a remotely detonated.

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