Rebel fighters carry their weapons as they walk along a field towards their positions in the town of Babolin in Idlib countryside April 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi)
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Syrian army steps up battle for RankousSyrian regime forces stepped up their offensive against Rankous ahead of an operation to retake the town, one of the last rebel-held regions in the Qalamoun area, an anti-regime activist group said Tuesday. Fierce clashes between regime forces and rebel groups also took place in more than half a dozen Syrian provinces.Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari dismissed Pillay's accusations as false and lacking credibility because Pillay and U.N. investigators had not visited Syria during the conflict.Pillay told the council that her office was due to issue a report later this week documenting torture by both government forces and opposition groups, said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.She recounted to the council the case of a 26-year-old woman who was tortured by government forces, the diplomat said.
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