Syria Conflict: Reports of Heavy Fighting in Damascus
The Syrian capital Damascus has seen some of the heaviest fighting of the conflict so far, according to reports from activists and residents.
Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the suburbs as the army sought to drive out the Free Syrian Army.
The fighting comes after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the conflict in Syria was now in effect a civil war.
It means combatants across Syria are now subject to the Geneva Conventions.
It had previously regarded only the areas around Idlib, Homs and Hama as warzones.
The BBC’s Jim Muir says the clashes between government forces and Free Syrian Army rebels seem to be creeping ever closer to the heart of Damascus and the centre of the regime’s power.
Tanks and mortars were reportedly used on the southern edge of the city, in areas like Tadhamon and Midan and around nearby Palestinian refugee camps.
Residents were said to be fleeing some areas, while in other parts of the city protesters blocked motorways with burning tyres.