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Syrian state news claimed that dozens of rebels killed were part of the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, a group the United States considers a terrorist organization.
The Syrian military killed at least 62 rebels in an ambush near the capital Damascus Wednesday, according to the pro-rebel monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"At least 62 rebels fell as martyrs, most of them youths, and eight others are missing after an ambush by regime forces at dawn near the industrial city of Adra," northeast of Damascus, the Observatory said.
Syrian state news confirmed the news with gruesome pictures of bloodied corpses on the desert ground. The state news website claimed those killed belonged to the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, a group the United States designates a terrorist organization.
The Syrian state-controlled broadcaster, Al-Ikhbariya TV, aired footage of a Tunisian passport that allegedly belongs to a man born in 1978, suggesting foreign fighters were part of those killed.
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An activist near Damascus, Mohammed Saeed, told the Associated Press via Skype that the military killed the rebels as they were traveling to Qalamoun.
"The regime forces riddled them with heavy machine-gun fire," he said. "It seems that the regime discovered the secret road that the rebels were using."
As Reuters noted, the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have gone on an offensive around the capital city in an effort to push out rebels from nearby towns and suburbs.
More than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the civil war between Assad's regime and the various rebel factions opposing him.
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