31 Jan 2012

Syrian government claims success in ousting rebels

10:06 pm on 31 January 2012

The Syrian government says it has eliminated resistance by rebels on the edge of Damascus after three days of fighting.

The Syrian Interior Ministry described the battles around the eastern outskirts of the capital over the past few days as a "qualitative operation" by security forces.

It said a large number of what it called "terrorists" had been "finished off", while others had been arrested and large quantities of weapons had been captured.

The opposition says it has pulled back from the capital for strategic reasons and will launch guerilla attacks.

However, the BBC says that the most government is reporting the highest number of casualties from the city of Homs to the north, parts of which have become a running battle field.

The government, it says, has been unable to restore control over several defiant quarters where armed rebels have become increasingly active.