Syrian regime forces launched an offensive to retake a strategic rebel-held area near Damascus on Monday and pressed a campaign against jihadists elsewhere in the country, according to a monitoring group.

Two days ago rebels, including from Al-Qaeda’s Syria franchise, Al-Nusra Front, seized large sections of the southeastern suburb of Dukhaniyeh, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Government forces launched a major counter-offensive and pounded the rebels from the air and with mortar fire, added Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman. […]