Airstrike near Damascus
Airstrike near DamascusScreenshot

Fighting continued and intensified in and around Damascus Thursday, as rebels pounded several neighborhoods of the city with rockets and missiles, Arab media reported.

At least three residents were killed and dozens injured. Most of the areas that were targeted were already largely abandoned by residents seeking to get away from the fighting in Syria's capital.

In response, Syrian army forces heavily bombed areas around the city held by rebels.

The battle in the upscale neighborhoods of Mazzeh, Malki, and Tijara were a combination of rebel fire against Syrian Army troops, who had made some progress in battling rebels in the capital. The missiles were being fired by the Islam Army, headed by Zahran Alloush.

Alloush has declared Damascus a “closed military zone” and pledged to slam residential areas with rocket fire until Damascus is “cleansed” from the presence of troops supporting Bashar al-Assad.

Alloush's group already holds much of suburban area east of Damascus,in the Ghouta region. On Tuesday, he sent out posts on social media warning Damascus residents to stay indoors on Thursday, to avoid being caught in the rocket fire. The group was also responsible for major rocket attacks last week in parts of the capital.

In the posts, Alloush promised that the attack would materialize Wednesday, but was apparently surprised by an attack by Syrian army troops. Busy fighting off the offensive, Islam Army rebels were apparently unable to carry out the attacks Wednesday. Reports said that the group suffered 12 dead in the attack.