Aug. 22 - Syrian army shells bombard the capital city of Damascus in an offense coinciding with the departure of U.N. military monitors. Sarah Irwin reports.
CONTAINS AMATEUR VIDEO THAT CANNOT BE INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED BY REUTERS Heavy fighting in Damascus as Syrian forces bombard the capital from the air and by land. Amateur video that could not be independently verified by Reuters purportedly- showed Syrian army tanks rolling into the city - part of an assault to shore up President Bashar al-Assad's grip on the area. Opposition forces said at least 40 people were killed in the city on Wednesday ... a day after human rights groups said more than 250 died in fighting throughout the country. Around Damascus, the army reportedly used tanks and helicopters in an offensive this week - that coincided with the departure of United Nations military observers. After their four-month long mission - U.N. observers continued to leave the country - after their mandate expired on Sunday. The monitors had hoped to see a ceasefire between Assad's forces and the rebels - but instead witnessed Syria's spiraling conflict. The last monitors are due to leave the country by Friday.