Syrian government troops Wednesday killed at least 62 rebels in an ambush near the capital Damascus dpa reported.
Eight other rebels went missing in the ambush on the outskirts of Damascus, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.
State news agency SANA confirmed the surprise attack, saying an army unit "eliminated in an elaborate ambush a band of terrorists" from al-Nusra Front, a jihadist rebel group.
SANA, citing a military source, said the group had attempted to sneak into the area of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus to attack a military position. The agency did not give a specific casualty figure.
The ambush marked a new tactic for government forces in fighting rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
Ambushes have been a tactic frequently used by rebels in the 28-month conflict, which the UN says has left more than 100,000 dead.
Al-Assad's troops have in recent months reported advances into rebel-held strongholds near Damascus.
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