November 15, 2014 / 5:33 PM / in 4 years

Damascus suburb residents clash with rebels: monitoring group

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Armed residents of the Damascus district of Douma clashed with a powerful rebel force on Saturday, a monitoring group said, in a rare instance of infighting in the area.

The fighting started on Friday in the eastern suburb after locals attacked storehouses of an organization close to the Army of Islam, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The British-based Observatory, which gathers information from a network of sources inside Syria, said guards exchanged fire with the attackers, wounding several.

Fighting broke out again on Saturday between the Army of Islam and residents backed by other rebel groups, the Observatory said. Douma is largely surrounded by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Infighting has weakened the rebel’s three-and-a-half-year-old fight against Assad, but the bulk of the clashes have been in the north and instances of such confrontations in the south have been relatively rare.

A U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes against Islamic State militants in the north since September.

Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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