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Syrian troops 'kill dozens' in Damascus raid

Dozens of people have been killed in a raid on the Syrian capital Damascus, opposition activists have reported. Syrian state television confirmed that army forces had stormed rebel hideouts in the south of the city.

Syrian opposition activists reported Thursday that at least 35 people, mostly civilians, were killed when regime troops raided and shelled the southern suburbs of Yalda and Jdaidat Artouz overnight.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll slightly higher, claiming victims were tortured and executed. Thursday's death toll could not be independently confirmed.

"Regime forces entered the Jdaidet Artuz district on Wednesday and arrested around 100 young people who were taken to a school and tortured," the watchdog said in a statement.

"On Thursday morning after the operation the bodies of 43 people were recovered. Some of them had been summarily executed."

Syria's state-run news agency SANA confirmed on Thursday that the military had entered the capital the previous evening, killing and arresting "a number" of militants.

SANA said "dozens of terrorists and mercenaries surrendered or were killed" when the army raided Jdeidet Artouz and its surrounding farmlands.

Although a rebel assault on the capital was suppressed two weeks ago, many areas remain sympathetic to rebel fighters.

ccp/mz (AP, AFP, Reuters)