he 16-month-old conflict in Syria escalated Monday when Syrian helicopters launched an assault on a suburb of Damascus, the country's capital. Government forces bombarded Douma, a city on the edge of Damascus, two days ago, but added helicopters to its strike Monday, with one rebel activist reporting, "There is huge destruction in the city, which is almost empty. Only a few of its people remain inside." The battle to unseat President Bashar al-Assad has taken "on the character of an all-out civil war," according to Reuters. Turkey also said Monday that it had scrambled six F-16 fighter jets after Syrian helicopters were detected approaching the increasingly tense border several times.
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