Fierce clashes in Syrian capital: monitors

AFP , Monday 19 Mar 2012

At least 18 soldiers of Al-Assad troops are injured during clashes with the Syria Free Army in a neighbourhood of Damascus

Fierce clashes erupted on Monday between rebel troops and security forces in a neighbourhood of the Syrian capital that houses many security buildings, activists said.

Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said 18 soldiers or security troops were wounded in the fighting that broke out at dawn in the upscale and heavily guarded Mazzeh district of Damascus.

"The clashes were the strongest and the closest to security installations in the capital since the outbreak of the revolt a year ago," Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Mourtada Rasheed, an activist in Damascus, said blasts and heavy shooting could be heard in Mazzeh as well as two other districts, Qaboon and Arbeen.

"We woke up at 3:00 am (0100 GMT) to the sound of heavy machinegun fire and rocket propelled grenades (RPG)," said one resident of Qaboon who did not wish to be identified.

"The fighting lasted about 10 minutes, then eased before starting again," he said.

The clashes in the capital took place after two car bombs ripped through two neighbourhoods of Damascus on Saturday killing 27 people according to the Syrian interior ministry.

Another car bomb exploded on Sunday in a residential neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria's second city, killing two people.

Short link: