Mortars strike Damascus, kill up to four and wound over 40

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DAMASCUS, Syria — Mortar rounds struck several areas of Damascus today, killing up to four people, a government official said.

In Damascus, the SANA state news agency said mortar shells exploded in several parts of the city, killing at least three people and wounding others. A government official said that four people had been killed and more than 40 wounded. The official spoken on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to brief the media.

The seesaw fight for the Homs neighborhood reflects the back-and-forth nature of Syria’s 2-year-old civil war. While rebels appear to be gaining ground, their progress is slow and their fighters remain vulnerable to Assad’s military superiority.

The regime has ample heavy weapons and a fleet of fighter jets but a shortage of ground troops, meaning it often abandons areas to rebel forces and then pounds them with artillery and airstrikes from afar, sometimes forcing rebel retreats.

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