World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian government forces shelled the eastern suburbs of Damascus on Monday and clashed with armed rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, activists and residents said.
Residents reported hearing heavy gunfire from around 6 a.m. (11 p.m. EDT on Sunday). They said the capital was shaken by several loud blasts, possibly artillery fire, two hours later.
"Every one of them feels like an earthquake," a resident in the central district of Adawi told Reuters in a telephone call punctuated by two loud explosions.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Assad's forces were targeting rural areas around the Zamalka and Ain Terma suburbs on the eastern fringes of Damascus, a rebel stronghold in recent months.
It said Monday's army offensive came after Assad's forces suffered heavy losses in the area on Sunday, when several military checkpoints came under attack.
The Observatory says more than 30,000 people, including 7,000 soldiers and members of the security forces, have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising against Assad in March last year.
The army repelled a July rebel offensive in Damascus but Assad's opponents are still present in outlying areas of the capital. Rebels also launched coordinated attacks on the army last week in Aleppo, trying to break a two-month military stalemate in Syria's biggest city.
'l could not in any way express how high the stakes are in the next hours and days,' head of UN humanitarian efforts says
'It's no secret that the Syrian army has prepared this decisive battle with its allies. It will not take long to begin, nor to finish,' a pro-regime daily says
The new amendments allow the king to choose his successor, the judiciary's chief and the head of the constitutional council
'The Syrian cessation of hostilities is in great danger and could collapse at any time,' says UN envoy on Syria
US Col. Warren hopes opposition will retake towns within weeks
Death toll is expected to rise further, civil defense official in Aleppo says
Among 76 people sentenced is deceased senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Farid Ismail who died in May 2015
Opposition High Negotiations Committee requests extraordinary meeting in light of mounting violations by Assad regime
Discussions between the two monarchs are expected to tackle recent regional developments and means of bolstering bilateral relations
Yemeni army faces losses as they advance in Mukalla province
'On paper they say that foreign banks can do business with Iran but, in practice, they are fomenting Iranophobia to prevent relations,' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says
Russia has submitted to the UN Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee a request to add two organisations: Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham to the blacklist
Geneva-based Committee for Justice says 423 protesters detained during Monday’s rallies
Pentagon ties decrease to acceleration in anti-ISIL campaign
The two diplomats call on Tehran to adopt regional policies based on ‘non-interference’ in other countries’ affairs
At panel on Syrian crisis, Khaled Khoja speaks on how Iran and Russia became major players in the crisis