Syrian government troops killed at least 62 rebels Wednesday in an ambush near Damascus, a pro-opposition watchdog group reported, dpa reported.
Eight other rebels went missing in the ambush on the outskirts of Damascus, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
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 infiltrate the area of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus to attack a military position. The agency did not give specific casualties.
The ambush marked a new tactic for government forces 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 reported advances in recent months into rebel-held strongholds near Damascus.
In Washington, US President Barack Obama said the US would increase support for Syrians by more than 196 million dollars, bringing US humanitarian aid for people affected by the conflict to more than 1 billion dollars.
Obama made the announcement in a statement to Muslims marking the end of Ramadan: "Many of us have had the opportunity to break fast with our Muslim friends and colleagues - a tradition that reminds us to be grateful for our blessings and to show compassion to the less fortunate among us, including millions of Syrians who spent Ramadan displaced from their homes, their families and their loved ones."
The new aid includes 155 million dollars in food assistance, medical supplies, hygiene kits, clothing and other household goods for war victims within Syria and 41 million dollars in food aid to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, the State Department said.
In Berlin, the German domestic intelligence service warned that a growing number of Islamists from Germany were fighting in Syria to oust al-Assad.
Should these fighters return to Germany, it could lead to a further radicalization of Islamists in the European country, the government said.
Hans-Georg Maassen, who heads the intelligence service, said there was concrete evidence that Islamists returning from Syria had planned terrorist attacks in Germany. He did not reveal any present threats.
Maassen said it was important to try to head off Islamists from travelling to Syria from Germany.
German intelligence and law enforcement agencies have compiled a list of more than 120 Islamists who have left Germany for Syria to fight or support the resistance to the al-Assad regime.
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