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Syrian army advances on Damascus outskirts, says Hezbollah-run outlet

An aid convoy reaches the rebel held besieged Harasta area, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces recaptured territory on Damascus’ eastern outskirts from rebels on Wednesday after stepping up attacks in that area, a military media unit run by Hezbollah said.

The army took control of a number of blocks in the Jobar district, and another area in Ain Terma, more than a mile to the south, the unit said in a statement.

The advances could not be immediately verified.

Syria’s army and its allies have intensified attacks against insurgents in areas east of the capital in recent days.

Warplanes launched more than two dozen air strikes in Jobar and Ain Terma since Tuesday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported.

Air strikes hit rebel-held districts east of Damascus on Thursday for the first time in weeks.

Rebel-held areas east of Damascus are besieged by the government and its allies, which include the Lebanese Hezbollah and Russia. Some insurgent groups have also fought among themselves in recent months, which observers say makes it easier for government forces to attack and gain ground.

Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Alison Williams