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Fresh fighting reported in Damascus, Syria's capital

July 16, 2012 |  8:37 am

Syria fighting

BEIRUT — Reports of fresh fighting in areas of Damascus and its suburbs surfaced Monday in a sign that the security situation may be deteriorating in the Syrian capital.

The violence comes a day after opposition advocates reported some of the heaviest clashes to date in the capital between government forces and rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.  There was no confirmed word on casualties in the capital.

The official Syrian news service reported Monday that authorities were in pursuit of an "armed terrorist group" that had fled from the capital's Tadamon district. Heavy fighting was reported Sunday in that neighborhood.

Fighting was ongoing Monday in the Abu Habil and al-Zahira areas of the capital, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group based in Britain.

Other opposition activists reported clashes in the south Damascus area of Kafr Souseh. A video purportedly filmed in that district in the dawn hours included the sounds of heavy shooting.

Later, an activist reached by telephone said battles were raging in the Midan district, an opposition hotbed. The activist, who requested anonymity because of safety concerns, said Sunday's clashes in southern Damascus occurred in the Kfar Souseh area as well as Tadamon.

The Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition groups, said government troops had blocked the road leading to the Midan on Monday. Amateur video footage purportedly filmed in Midan and shared on Facebook showed thick clouds of black smoke rising to the sky. In another clip, the sound of heavy gunfire could be heard.

One resident in the upscale central Damascus neighborhood of Abou Roumaneh reported hearing “very heavy firing” coming from the southern outskirts of the city on Sunday afternoon, lasting into  mid-evening. On Monday afternoon, however, the same resident couldn’t hear gunfire in the neighborhood.

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— Alexandra Sandels

Photo: This image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News and accessed Sunday purports to show Syrian rebels clashing with government forces in Damascus, the capital. Credit: Associated Press / Ugarit News via AP video.

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