BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces have been doing battle today with rebels linked to al-Qaida.
Activists and state media say the Nusra Front rebels are trying to capture an ancient Christian town north of Damascus. The town has apparently been targeted because of its strategic location near the main highway north of Damascus, rather than because it is Christian. However, hard-liners among the rebels are hostile to Syria's Christian minority, who tend to support the government of President Bashar Assad.
Elsewhere, the state news agency and activists say mortar rounds slammed into a pro-government suburb on the outskirts of Damascus, killing at least two people.
Meanwhile, the head of the international team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons says the Assad government has so far "fully cooperated" with the mission's advance team.