Syrian President Bashar Assad’s soldiers are using artillery in fierce clashes against armed rebels near neighborhoods of government troops only five miles from the capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Several people have been killed.
The right group told foreign news agencies that the location of the fighting is significant because it is home to families of government soldiers and officers.
Assad slowly losing his grip on the army and is desperately fighting near-universal condemnation that is making it more difficult for Russia to continue its conditional backing of the regime.
The rebels are receiving military aid from foreign sources, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The London Guardian reported that Saudi Arabia is prepared to pay the salaries of Free Syrian Army troops in order to encourage desertions.
The most senior general to desert Assad escaped on Sunday, along with a colonel and more than 20 soldiers. The general fled into Turkey Sunday night from Damascus and reportedly had been responsible for a large ammunitions depot.
Last week, a Syrian pilot flew his MiG-21 escaped from a training exercise and flew to Jordan, where he received asylum. Hs family also escaped, but Syrian officials burned their deserted family home.