(LOS ANGELES) — The battle for control of the Syrian capital of Damascus might come down to which side can hold onto the suburb known as Dariya, according to a report in The Los Angeles Times.
Fighting between the Syrian military and rebel forces has been especially fierce in Dariya, once a bustling neighborhood of 200,000 residents.
Today, there are only about 10,000 people and a third of them are fighters.
Essentially, the rebels, led by the Free Syrian Army, have occupied Dariya for the past year although forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have kept up their air and ground bombardment of the suburb, now literally a shell of its former self.
While the area holds no particular value, gaining firm control of Dariya would give one of the two sides access to the Damascus’ center as well as a vital military airfield.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN