Syria troops, rebels clash in northern Damascus
Beirut (Lebanon): Syrian regime troops fought fierce battles with rebels on Wednesday for control of key areas north of Damascus, residents and activists said.
Opposition fighters trying to topple President Bashar Assad have been trying to advance into Damascus for weeks, battering regime checkpoints and military bases in the heavily fortified capital. They have also fired mortars into residential districts and into the capital's main football stadium, sowing fear among residents.
The state-run SANA news agency said two mortar rounds today exploded near an orphanage in al-Boukhtyar area of Damascus, killing and wounding an unknown number of people.
It was not immediately clear if any of the casualties were in the orphanage.
The pro-government Al-Ekhbariya TV aired footage of the attacks, showing houses and cars on fire and firefighters working to extinguish the flames. People were shown weeping and cursing the rebels.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today's clashes were concentrated in the capital's neighbourhoods of Jobar and Barzeh.
A car bomb exploded outside a police station in Khan Sheih neighbourhood, west of Damascus, the Observatory said. The Britain-based activist group also said fierce clashes broke out after the blast but had no immediate reports of casualties.