March 19 - Opposition activists say rebels and Syrian government forces fought a fierce gun battle in the capital Damascus. Nick Rowlands reports.
Video obtained from a social media website, which Reuters cannot independently verify, purports to show gunfire in Damascus. Rebels fought government forces in the city on Monday in the most violent gun battles the Syrian capital has seen since the start of the year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, opposition activists claim. Footage shot by a Reuters crew shows the aftermath of the fighting, with significant damage to a building where clashes took place, including bullet holes in the walls. The battle comes just two days after a double car bombing in the heart of the city killed at least 27 people. The fighting seems to be an attempt by rebels to show that despite setbacks in cities such as Homs and Idlib, they still pose a serious threat to the regime. Other amateur video footage purports to show a fire raging in Homs, and the aftermath of street fighting. In this video said to be shot in Idlib, a tank can be seen on the street. Government forces were reportedly bombarding rebel strongholds in the north of the city. Assad's troops have intensified their crackdown over recent weeks, winning back much lost ground, and analysts are warning the uprising could degenerate into a sectarian civil war. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.