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Syria's stalemated conflict picks up speed again

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Today’s car bombs all detonated within a span of five minutes in an area of the city that’s home to Christians and Druze, groups largely seen as supporters of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to a separate AP report. Though no one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, state media said the attacks were the work of “terrorists,” a term frequently used to describe rebel fighters. Some speculate that the “government is behind the blasts as a way of spreading fear among Syria's minorities,” reports the Guardian.

Recent reports show rebel groups gaining ground against Assad’s regime in parts of the country, with a diplomat in Damascus telling Reuters that "there is a sense that the flames are licking at the door.”

The steady capture of military installations and arsenals is sapping the morale of Assad's forces and also ensuring a modest supply of new weapons to relatively ill-equipped rebels whose calls for a no-fly zone – which proved crucial in the Libyan uprising – have been ignored.

Although they have yet to seize control of a single city, or translate their dominance in swathes of rural Syria into "liberated" territory free of air and artillery strikes, rebels say that their increasing prowess on the battlefield and growing armories have finally allowed them to take the initiative.

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