Syrian official shot dead as he dined in western district of capital

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A SYRIAN official has been gunned down in a Damascus ­restaurant by rebel fighters.

State media said the official, Ali Ballan, died instantly after being shot as he dined late on Thursday in the western neighbourhood of Mazzeh.

Yesterday, regime sources and rebel activists reported fierce battles near Syria’s border with Lebanon.

Mr Ballan was head of public relations at the ministry of social affairs and a member of Syria’s relief agency, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Since Syria’s crisis began two years ago, Damascus has seen a number of assassinations of ­officials and regime supporters.

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