Syrian rebels attack security forces near Damascus

Syrian rebels attack security forces near Damascus

Syrian rebels attacked security forces in three Damascus suburbs, as government forces continued to shell restive areas in central Syria on Sunday, activists and a rights group said, dpa reported.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group of defectors attacked government forces with rocket-propelled grenades in the suburb of al-Nabk, outside the capital. Ambulances were seen heading to the area after the attack.

In the central province of Homs, heavy shelling continued for hours, the Local Coordination Committees said.

Reports from Syria are difficult to verify independently as the government has barred most foreign media from restive areas since the pro-democracy uprising started in March 2011.

The latest violence occurred as UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was in Moscow to seek Russian support for a plan to end the bloodshed in Syria. Annan was to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia said on Saturday it would propose a ceasefire and an end to the violence in Syria, but that this would require a cessation of foreign military and political assistance to the Syrian opposition.

Annan plans to visit Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday for talks with Chinese officials.

Russia and China, which have vetoed previous UN Security Council action against Damascus, this week endorsed a non-binding statement from the international body backing Annan's plan for peace in Syria.

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