Los Angeles Times

In Syria, battle for Damascus
is also waged in suburbs

Smoke rises over Damascus. (AFP/SANA)

A chaotic passageway through blasted walls, blood-spattered floors and bullet-pocked rooms leads to the narrow stairway where a teenager pokes his Kalashnikov rifle into a sliver of light slicing through the sandbags.


"If we don't protect our camp, who will?" asked 18-year-old Yehya from his perch on a landing, keeping watch on crumbling apartment blocks and debris-laden streets outside.


The battle for Damascus, the capital, has become a brutal fight for the suburbs. The Syrian army and allied militias are trying to push rebels out of Yarmouk and Dariya in the south, Jobar and Qaboun in the northeast — and kill as many of them as possible. The rebels' goal is to advance to the seat of power of President Bashar Assad.


(The Los Angeles Times/Patrick J. McDonnell)


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Smoke rises over Damascus. (AFP/SANA)

If we don't protect our camp, who will?