World Bulletin / News Desk
Clashes erupted on Thursday near Syrian government headquarters in Damascus after rebels attacked forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who have deployed armoured vehicles and increased roadblocks across the city, activists and residents said.
At least one person was reported killed in the fighting in Ikhlas neighbourhood near the Council of Ministers, a huge complex, and a Damascus University campus, they said.
Hundreds of families were fleeing the area, located between the districts of Kafar Souseh and Mezze, they said.
"The refugees have nowhere to go. There is fighting across Damascus," said a housewife watching the fighting from a tower block on Mezze Autostrade near the prime minister's office.
Fighting has been focused in the southern and north-eastern suburbs of the city, as well as the central areas of Mezze and Kafar Souseh where several security sites are located. Other parts of central Damascus were quiet on Thursday.
Another resident said army snipers were deployed on rooftops in Mezze and Kafar Souseh after rebels attacked armoured vehicles stationed near the prime minister's office and a roadblock erected in the last few days behind the Iranian embassy.
"The snipers are shooting at anyone in the streets. Mezze streets are deserted," he said, speaking by phone.
Fighting was also reported in Midan, a central Sunni Muslim district where rebels have been operating in alleyways and narrow streets that cannot be entered easily by tanks.
Witnesses also said armoured vehicles entered the Sinaa neighbourhood, which is adjacent to the historic Old City centre of the ancient capital.
'You Stink' campaign calls for broad-based movement against government impotence and corruption
UAE is a key partner in the Saudi-led coalition that in March launched air strikes against the Houthis
Iraqi security forces engage with armed group suspected of kidnapping 18 Turks
Russian president blames Western countries for 'imposing their own standards without considering the cultural, religious and national characteristics of the region’
'It is a symbolic thing but it is another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena'
Syrian State tv has claimed that Russian troops are on the ground boosting Assad's forces.
Kerry reassures Abbas US is deeply concerned about current developments in Palestinian situation
Country's former interim president says Tunisians must fullfil their duty, land helping hand for Syrians
International community's response to refugee crisis as not 'adequately shared or shouldered'
Iraqi PM Al-Abadi says Baghdad incident was carried out by 'terrorists'
Latest UN report says destructive impact of conflicts is being felt by children right across the region
The crippled health system in Syria is taking its toll on the water system with the Red Cross reporting that the water network is near collapse as a result of constant shelling
Abbott says that ISIL 'boast about their evil' rather than hide it
More than 300 of the deaths reported last month were registered in violence-wracked Baghdad alone
Israel PM says he’s ready to resume negotiations with Palestinians; PLO’s Erekat calls assertion ‘hollow public-relations talk’
In recent weeks, several opponents of Egyptian regime have died in prison