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April 5, 2012
Syrian troops attack suburb as cease-fire deadline approaches
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian troops launched a fierce assault on a Damascus suburb Thursday, days ahead of a deadline for a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, with activists describing it as one of the most violent attacks around the capital since the year-old uprising began.
Activists in the suburb of Douma said snipers on 20 buildings were firing at "anything that moved" and residents had endured eight hours of shelling. They said soldiers marched into a main square behind detainees used as human shields.
The operation in Douma, along with other offensives around the country, bolstered the opposition's claim that President Bashar Assad is only intensifying violence ahead of the April 10 deadline to start implementing the truce. Activists say Assad wants to make gains on the ground before the cease-fire is supposed to take effect.

(20 images)



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Syrian youths stand in a building damaged by tank shells in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, after a raid by Syrian troops killed several rebels and civilians. Syrian troops launched a fierce assault Thursday, days ahead of a deadline for a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, with activists describing it as one of the most violent attacks around the capital since the year-old uprising began. AP


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Syrians gather near a crater from a tank shell in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, after a raid by Syrian troops killed several rebels and civilians Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP
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Syrians walk through blood and debris in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, after a raid by Syrian troops killed several rebels and civilians Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP
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A Free Syrian Army fighter, right, stands near the body of a fallen comrade in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, after a raid by Syrian troops killed several rebels and civilians Thursday, April 5, 2012. AP
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Free Syrian Army fighters guard a night protest in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. AP
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Syrians raise their hands vowing to continue fighting until President Bashar Assad's regime falls during a protest in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. AP
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An injured man gets treated in a Damascus neighborhood, Syria, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. AP
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Syrian activists prepare signs for upcoming protests, at a house in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. Syrian activists say there have been explosions and clashes in several parts of the country even as the government claims it has started to withdraw troops from some cities in compliance with an international cease-fire plan. Arabic on the poster, center, reads, "Kofi Annan, with the deadline you gave Bashar the criminal, you freed his hands for more crimes," Arabic on the poster, top left, reads, "oh Arabs, we amazed the world with our steadfastness, and you amazed the world with your silence." AP
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A butcher works in his shop damaged in recent fighting between the government troops and rebels in a Damascus neighborhood, Syria, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. AP
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Syrians wave revolutionary flags and chant slogans at a night protest against President Bashar Assad in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 2, 2012. (AP Photo) AP
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A Syrian woman and her daughter walk past a wall with a painting of the Syrian revolutionary flag and Arabic writing that reads,"only al-Arour," the name of an Islamic cleric living in Saudi Arabia who opposes President Bashar Assad, in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 2, 2012. AP
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Free Syrian Army fighters perform the noon prayer in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Free Syrian Army fighters train in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Free Syrian Army fighters stand on alert after hearing gunfire in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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A Syrian woman sits in front her home as Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard during a break in fighting in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Syrians chant slogans against President Bashar Assad upon the arrival of the Free Syrian Army in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Syrian Free Army fighters stand on guard in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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A Syrian boy watches as a Free Syrian Army fighter stands guard in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP
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Syrian boys help to fill bags of food aid in a secret house in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP

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