Syrian rebel fighters from the Faylaq al-Rahman brigade carry their homemade 12.7mm sniper rifle in Ain Tarma, in the eastern Ghouta area, a rebel stronghold east of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2017. / AFP / ABDULMONAM EASSA
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At least 28 Syrian soldiers and pro-regime fighters were killed Wednesday in a rebel ambush in the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus, activist said Thursday.The fighters came under attack by the Army of Islam (Jaish al-Islam) rebel group as they attempted to advance in the town of Al-Reyhan, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian forces and their allies have been trying to storm the eastern suburbs of Damascus but have struggled to penetrate rebel defenses. Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said rebels opened fire on the government troops as they entered an area where the opposition fighters had planted mines. He said the ambush was the deadliest incident for government fighters in Eastern Ghouta since February 2016, when 76 regime troops were killed in Tal al-Sawan. The incident comes as Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham fights escalating battles across opposition-held Idlib province with the Ahrar al-Sham rebel faction.
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