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Syrian Troops Retake Damascus Suburb After Fighting, Group Says

Syrian forces have retaken the Damascus suburb of Douma after days of heaving fighting with rebels, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The situation in Douma “is very bad,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the group, said in a phone interview. “We have received reports of dead bodies on the street.”

Foreign ministers of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. -- as well as Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq are at a conference in Geneva today to discuss United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan. The plan seeks to end 16 months of violence that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

About 4,000 Syrians have been killed since Annan took on the peacemaking mission in February, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group. Sixteen people were killed by Syrian forces today, the Observatory said in an e-mailed statement.

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