March 3, 2018 / 2:14 PM / a year ago

Syrian government forces make new eastern Ghouta advance: Observatory

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces took almost complete control of the town of al-Shayfouniya in eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, pressing an assault into the last rebel stronghold near the capital.

The spokesman for the rebel Jaish al-Islam group, writing on Twitter, said government forces had mounted a failed attempt to storm a nearby area, al-Rayhan, but did not mention al-Shayfouniya.

A commander in the military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said fighting was underway in al-Shayfouniya, without giving further details.

Reporting by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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