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Originally published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 4:51 AM

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Syria: Rebel push into Damascus is 'certain death'

Syria's military is warning rebels against pressing an ongoing offensive into Damascus, saying the push by opposition fighters into the capital means their "certain death."

Associated Press

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DAMASCUS, Syria —

Syria's military is warning rebels against pressing an ongoing offensive into Damascus, saying the push by opposition fighters into the capital means their "certain death."

Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad have established strongholds in the suburbs surrounding the capital during the two-year-old-conflict. In recent weeks, they've stepped up mortar attacks on the center of the city, bringing the conflict closer to the seat of Assad's power.

A military commander told the pro-government al-Watan newspaper that any advance by the rebels on Damascus means "certain death for them and their leaders." The commander, who is not named in the Wednesday report, said the bravery of government troops on the battlefield is keeping Damascus safe.

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