Foreign - sponsored militant groups in Syria continue to suffer heavy losses as the Syrian army kills many militants during its operations on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.On Sunday, a number of militants were killed during intense clashes with Syrian troops near Samsam School in the town of Douma, located about ten kilometers (six miles) northeast of Damascus, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported. Syrian forces also stormed a terrorist hideout in the town of al-Shifoniyeh, and shot dead a large number of militants. A large amount of weapons and munitions was also destroyed after the fierce gun battle. A militant commander, identified as Adnan al-Arbo, was among the slain gunmen in al-Shifoniyeh. Separately, a unit of the Syrian army destroyed a considerable amount of explosive devices and ammunition hidden inside a cork factory in the town of Jobar, about two kilometers (1.2 miles) northeast of the capital. Clashes were also reported near Teachers Tower in Jobar, where a number of armed men were killed by the Syrian soldiers. Similar gun battles erupted in the town of Zamalka and Barzeh. Zead al-Sagher, a militant leader, and his comrades were killed during the fighting in Barzeh. Syrian troops engaged in heavy clashed with militants affiliated to the terrorist group al-Nusra Front in the district of Adraa, killing dozens of militants. The towns of al-Jarba and al-Bihariyah also witnessed mop-up operations conducted by the Syrian army against the militants. Turmoil has gripped Syria since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed in the unrest. The Syrian government maintains that the chaos in the country is being orchestrated from outside and that there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. On May 11, Tunisian Prime Minister Othman Jerandi said that about 800 Tunisians were fighting alongside the militants inside Syria. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said in April that the situation in the country was improving as the army enjoys people’s support in the fight against terrorism.