Conflicting claims of success in Syrian civil war continue (summary)

The violent confrontations in the civil war between government forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army continue amid conflicting claims of eventual victory. While president Assad vows to remain in Syria until the bitter end, rebel forces appear to have made some gains in taking the fight to the outskirts of Damascus. Syrian air power continues to thwart ground advances by the rebels. Meanwhile, bitter cold is making life even harder for the half a million refugees in Turkey and elsewhere. Tensions along the border with Turkey remain high as battles sometimes take place along the border areas. Travellers should avoid all travel to Syria.

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