People walk in a street where building are damaged on February 21, 2014 on the key rebel-held bastion of Yabroud north of Damascus, as clashes also raged on the capital's outskirts. AFP PHOTO / ALI DIAB
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The army, backed by fighters from Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, has been battling with Sunni jihadists of Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, in Qalamoun since December, according to activists and a monitoring group.Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman says the army does not want to enter Yabrud, but only to "seize the surrounding villages and hills, to completely besiege the town.The army has used the siege tactic in several towns and cities from the onset of the nearly three-year war that has now killed an estimated 140,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes. Last year Hezbollah acknowledged sending fighters into Syria to support the army.
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