Report: Heavy fire in Damascus

President Assad’s forces clash with rebels in al-Mezze district overnight; Opposition reports of over 80 dead soldiers, 200 civilian casualties 
Roi Kais

Syrian activists and witnesses said Monday that security forces have clashed with gunmen in an upscale western neighborhood of the capital Bashar Assad‘s soldiers have been Syria blast victims: Is this liberty?







Witnesses reported of automatic rifles and machinegun fire in a prolonged clash that ended at about 4 am local time Monday. 



Armed rebels are active in Damascus’ suburbs and satellite towns but rarely venture into the heart of the capital where Assad’s troops are deployed in force.



An activist in the capital said the clash occurred near the Political Security Directorate building.




„There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighborhood. Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off,” a housewife who lives in the area said.



The fighting in the capital came after a Syria‘s second city 



The year-long uprising has largely unraveled an alliance between Sunni tribal chiefs and Syria’s ruling Alawite minority forged by Assad’s father, the late president 



AP and Reuters contributed to this report