Syrian capital under siege as rebels clash with Assad government troops
Street battles raged at the gates of the Syrian capital on Monday as President Bashar al-Assad’s troops sought to consolidate their grip on suburbs that rebel fighters had taken only a few miles from the centre of government power.
Activists and residents said Syrian troops now had control of Hamouriyeh, one of several districts where they have used armored vehicles and artillery to beat back rebels who came as close as 8 km to Damascus.
An activist said the Free Syrian Army – a force of military defectors with links to Syria’s divided political opposition – mounted scattered attacks on government troops who advanced through the district of Saqba, held by rebels just days ago.
“Street fighting has been raging since dawn,” he said, adding tanks were moving through a central avenue of the neighborhood. “The sound of gunfire is everywhere.”