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Dawn clashes in Christian neighborhood of Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says one person has been killed in clashes that erupted at dawn in a Christian neighborhood in the old city of Damascus.

The report said the fighting between rebels and security forces took place Wednesday morning in Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian neighborhood on the eastern side of the medieval city center.

Residents said shots lasted for about half an hour between 3 and 4 a.m.

Violence has been rare in the city’s Christian areas, which have for the most part not joined the 17-month rebellion against the regime of Bashar Assad.

Rebels staged a fierce battle for Damascus two weeks ago but were crushed by government forces. Operations to search for neighborhoods sympathetic to rebels have been ongoing for the past weeks.

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