DAMASCUS, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army has achieved splendid advancement in fighting against the rebels nationwide, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper quoted a military source as saying Monday.
"Very harsh surprises" will be declared to "all those determined to fight without surrendering to the army in the outskirts of Damascus," the paper quoted the unnamed source as stating.
The army has achieved "qualitative advancement" on different fronts nationwide, particularly in the suburbs of Damascus, where the armed fighters from the al-Qaida-linked "Nusra Front" were still entrenching, the paper said.
It added that many gunmen were killed over the past 48 hours in the western suburbs of Daraya, Muadamieh and the southern Douma and Harasta. The paper also claimed that the rebels had sent distress calls to their comrades but were for no avail due to the siege imposed by the army on their pockets.
In the northern city of Aleppo, the army has changed its tactics to focus on fighting the rebels in the southern part of the city after advancing on the eastern front, according to the paper.
As the pro-government paper boosted the army's advancement, activists reported the continuation of heavy artillery shelling on several hotspots across the country, posting haunting images on their websites of killed men and in some cases children.
The authenticity of such images couldn't be independently reconciled.
The army and the rebels have been pitted against each other with no emergence of a victorious so far amid rising presence of radical Islamists affiliated with jihadist groups fighting alongside some of the rebel groups.