"Moment of truth" has come, army tells Syria rebels

BEIRUT Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:56pm EDT

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian security forces dropped leaflets across Damascus on Tuesday warning rebel gunmen to give up their arms and surrender, opposition activists said.

"The weapon you are carrying has become a burden on you, and there is no hope for you to survive unless you drop your weapon," said the leaflets, dropped by helicopters.

"The moment of truth has come. The men of the Syrian Arab Army are coming, time is running out and the wise man is the one who saves himself," said the leaflets, signed by the armed forces general command.

Activists reported seeing the leaflets in the neighborhoods of Zahira and Midan, where the army launched a fierce counter-attack against last week's rebel offensive in the capital.

But rebels have lately mounted the gravest challenge yet to President Bashar al-Assad with gains in Damascus, albeit short-lived, as well as the killing of four top security officials in a bombing and the capture of four border crossings last week.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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