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Syria, rebels trade bomb attacks near Damascus

Government forces target strongholds near capital as rebels attack military outpost in Syria.

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Syrian families hide in a shelter near Baba Amr neighbourhood in the beleaguered city of Homs. The city has been under constant fire from government forces for weeks. (-/Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Syria's government troops and warplanes continued to pound rebels outside the capital Damascus today as a car bomb exploded outside an important military target.

Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are trying to recapture the suburb Douma, and attacks near there killed 12 on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

On Thursday, Syrian rebels say that a car bomb exploded at a gas station, killing at least 11 people and wounding 40 others, Reuters reported.

Citing reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the AP also said the car bomb exploded outside Syria's military intelligence building in Nabk today.

The gas station in Damascus was packed with people wanting fuel, which has been getting more difficult to obtain in Syria, BBC News reported.

Drivers often wait hours in line to fill their cars with gas.

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"There are lots of people who sleep there overnight, waiting for early morning fuel consignments," an opposition activist told Reuters. The bombing stemmed from a booby-trapped car.

Later, the Syrian government accused "terrorists" of detonating the bomb, Reuters said.

"Terrorists ... blew up an explosive device at Qassioun Petrol Station near Hamish Hospital in Barzeh, Damascus, martyring several civilians," the state-controlled SANA news agency said, according to Reuters.

The attack comes just one day after an attack on another Damascus gas station. Activists said Wednesday that at least 30 civilians were killed when Syrian warplanes hit a gas station in Damascus.

The bombing also comes after the United Nations recently announced that at least 60,000 people have died in Syria's conflict. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/130103/gas-station-bombed-syria-second-time-week