Fiercest Fighting Yet Reported Inside Damascus
Opposition fighters battled Syrian government forces in Damascus on Sunday in what residents described as the fiercest fighting yet inside the city limits of the capital.
As night fell, activists said the fighting was spreading from the south of the city to a second area, and government troops had closed the airport road.
Numerous residents contacted by Reuters said they could hear loud explosions, persistent gunfire and sirens wailing, and described the fighting as the worst so far of the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Thick black smoke was visible above the Damascus skyline in live Internet video links.
“I can’t believe it, it sounds incredibly close. I hear shooting and other stuff, like blasts. I can hear the sounds of ambulances rushing past. I am so afraid. People may die tonight,” said a resident in a district close to the fighting, contacted by telephone.
Activist Samir al-Shami, who spoke to Reuters by Skype from Damascus, said the fighting was under way in the al-Tadamon district in the capital’s south, after sustained battles began at nightfall on Saturday in the nearby Hajar al-Aswad district.
“There is the sound of heavy gunfire. And there is smoke rising from the area. There are already some wounded and residents are trying to flee the area,” he said, using Skype to show live video images of smoke visible over the skyline.
“There are also armored vehicles heading towards the southern part of the neighborhood,” he said.