Mortar shells landed in Damascus University on Thursday killing at least 12 people, State-run television said.

It blamed the attack on “terrorists,” a term used by the Syrian Government to refer to rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said eight people were killed in the attack. The watchdog said that government troops shelled pro-rebel areas near Damascus and clashed with militants.

Opposition forces have stepped up attacks in and around Damascus, raising the possibility that al-Assad could lose hold on the capital.

At least 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria over the last two years, according to the United Nations.

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