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Syrian regime pounds rebel strongholds

BEIRUT — Syrian warplanes fired missiles at opposition strongholds around Damascus and in the north on Wednesday as Turkey, a key backer of the anti-regime rebels, appeared to distance itself from an earlier call to impose a no-fly zone.

The Syrian regime has intensified airstrikes in recent days following the failure of a U.N.-backed holiday truce over a four-day holiday that never took hold. Activists said at least 110 people were killed nationwide in airstrikes, artillery shelling and fighting Wednesday.

Wednesday’s casualties pushed the death toll since the conflict began in March 2011 to more than 36,000, according to Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Much of the violence took place in rebellious suburbs of the capital Damascus and in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. The Observatory said government jets carried out multiple strikes in the eastern Ghouta district, a rebel stronghold close to the capital.

Airstrikes also hit the rebel-held city of Maaret al-Numan, according to Observatory, which gathers reports from a network of activists on the ground. The city straddles a key supply route from Damascus to Aleppo.

 
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