Associated Press

Jul 20, 10:53 AM EDT

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian opposition activists say insurgents have ambushed a Syrian military force near the capital, Damascus, killing more than two dozen of them.

Thursday's ambush came after days of intense fighting as rebel-held suburbs of the capital come under a government offensive.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the soldiers and allied gunmen were ambushed in the rebel-held village of Rihan east of Damascus.

Anas al-Dimashqi, an opposition activist based in the area, and the Observatory said the ambush killed at least 28 troops and pro-government gunmen.

Syrian government forces and their allies have been trying to storm eastern suburbs of Damascus known as eastern Ghouta but have struggled to penetrate rebel defenses.

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