The Straits Times
Published on Dec 08, 2012

Syria clashes rage amid chemical weapons fears


DAMASCUS  (AFP) - Syria's army sent reinforcements to a rebel town near Damascus and clashes raged south of the city on Friday, as United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged a "concerted push" to end the conflict after talks with her Russian counterpart.

The world's chemical weapons watchdog asked Syria to sign up to a convention banning their use, as an opposition leader called on the international community to stop President Bashar Al-Assad's regime unleashing a chemical arms "disaster". Inside Syria, activists feared a new ground assault on Damascus suburbs where military reinforcements poured in, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The army bombed orchards surrounding Daraya where military reinforcements are heading," it said, citing activists on the ground.

"Moadamiyet al-Sham was also violently pounded and large reinforcements were deployed apparently to attack the town," added the Britain-based watchdog which gathers information from a network of activists and medics across Syria.