DAMASCUS, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian troops on Friday killed 20 armed rebels in a new ambush in the eastern countryside of Damascus, just a couple of days after eliminating more than 175 others in the same area, the official SANA news agency reported.
Based on "precise intelligence information," a unit of the Syrian army killed more than 20 "terrorists" and injured many others in the ambush, while the armed rebels were sneaking on a sub-road between the eastern al-Ghouta countryside and the rugged al-Qalamoun region, north of Damascus, said SANA, spelling no further details.
On Wednesday, the Syrian troops killed more than 175 rebels in al-Ataibeh suburb in Ghouta, the official media said, calling the rebels "radicals from al-Qaida-inspired Nusra Front and the so- called Islam Brigade."
The rebels, backed by foreign jihadists, have long attempted to launch planned attacks in the eastern Ghouta countryside, in a bid to break the Syrian government's control over the surroundings of the capital.
Opposition fighters are reportedly planning a large-scale offensive against the government-controlled countryside of Damascus with an aim to break its siege and halt its progress in central Syria.
The Lebanese al-Manar TV and pro-government Syrian TV outlets said some Western and Arab countries are stepping up support to rebels in Syria, mainly in the southern province of Daraa which borders Jordan.
The recent rebel movements in the countryside of Damascus are believed to be a prelude for a bigger battle, observers say.