Reports over 80 dead in Damascus clashes
Syrian government forces are fighting against members of the so-called free Syrian Army (FSA) in a neighborhood of Damascus, Reuters reported on Monday quoting eyewitnesses.
According to them, the battle takes place in the al-Mezze (southwest of the city). Both sides use heavy machine guns and grenade launchers, said the witnesses. Some reports claimed at least 84 people were killed in the clashes.
The al-Mezze district is one of the most protected areas in the Syrian capital, where several sites belonging to the security forces are located. Several heads of security services live in Al Mezze, including Assef Shawkat the brother in-law of Syrian President and deputy Chief of Staff of the armed forces. The neighborhood is also home of the secret police buildings and many embassies.
Reinforcements have been deployed in the area after rallies that drew thousands of people last month to protest the killing of protesters by troops loyal to Bashar al Assad. "There is fighting near the Hamada supermarket and explosions here and around the neighborhood. Security forces have cordoned off several side streets and street lighting has been cut," said one resident.