At least 14 Syrian civilians have been killed in a mortar attack near the capital, Damascus, an opposition watchdog says.
Four children are reported to be among those killed in the attack in Mleha district, southeast of Damascus, on Thursday evening, AFP reported. The source has blamed Syrian army for the attack, saying that the mortar fire came as government troops were trying to clear the region of militants. The Syrian government has yet to comment on the attack. There are also reports of clashes between Syrian troops and foreign-backed militants in several other suburbs of Damascus, including Muadamiya al-Sham, southwest of the capital, and Yabrud and Rankus to its north. Meanwhile, the Syrian army has managed to recapture a number of villages from militants fighting against the Syrian government in the western city of Latakia. According to Press TV's correspondent in Syria, Tallet Habs al-Dam, Tallet al-Khudur, Karm Aramo village, Obeen and Abo Mekkeh are now under the control of the Syrian army. Foreign nationals, including a Qatari and a Tunisian, are reported to be among the militants killed by Syrian troops in Latakia. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.