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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Helicopter Crashes in Damascus Suburb

RIA Novosti

13:12 20/09/2012 MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - A helicopter crashed near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Thursday, Syrian state television reported.

The helicopter came down in Douma, a suburb east of Damascus, reports say.

The were no further details about the crash, which comes less than a month after rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad claimed to have shot down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus.

Earlier this month, the rebel Free Syrian Army said that it had brought down two government MiG fighter jets in the northwestern province of Idlib, al-Arabiya television said.

The government has increasingly used aircraft to combat what it calls "armed terrorist gangs" involved in the uprising in Syria.

Heavy fighting has continued in Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo. On Wednesday, rebels seized a crossing on the border with Turkey, the fourth in the past few months.

Activist groups say as many as 23,000 people have died since the unrest began in March last year.

Meanwhile, diplomats from more than 60 countries are meeting in the Dutch capital, The Hague, to discuss how to make international economic pressure on the Assad government more effective.

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