The Syrian air force on Tuesday pounded rebel positions in the contested town of Mleiha east of the capital Damascus, amid heavy clashes with the rebels who are trying to break the government troops' imposed siege on that strategic town, activists reported.
The Syrian war jets struck the orchards surrounding Mleiha coupled with artillery shelling that targeted the rebel-held town with six surface-to-surface missiles, according to the Britain- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
While the observatory gave no further details so far, other activists claimed that the armed rebels had unleashed a counter offensive to break the Syrian troops' siege on the eastern rim of Mleiha, killing a number of Syrian soldiers.
The Syrian troops have been locked in months-long battles to regain the town. Last week, the Syrian troops attacked rebels inside Mleiha, trapping as many as 400 militants from the al-Qaida- linked Nusra Front inside.
The pro-government al-Watan daily said Tuesday that intense battles are still ongoing in Mleiha, adding that the Syrian forces have dealt deadly blows to the rebels there.
Mleiha is deemed one of the most important strongholds for the armed rebels due to its proximity to the capital. The area is also the place where most of the mortar shells were manufactured and fired from.