30 Dead across Syria

30 Dead across Syria after Unprecedented Pre-Dawn Fighting in Capital
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said four rebels were killed. The fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the home of a top army officer as they brought the conflict to the capital, he said.

Murtada Rashid, an activist in Damascus, said blasts and heavy shooting could be heard in Mazzeh and two other districts, Qaboon and Arbin.

A Qaboon resident who did not wish to be identified said “we woke up at 3:00 am (0100 GMT) to the sound of heavy machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.”

In Mazzeh, which is overlooked by Assad’s clifftop presidential palace and home to several embassies, terrified locals were woken by the rattle of gunfire. “We were very scared,” one told Agence France Presse.

A mission sent by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus for talks on a monitoring operation to end the conflict that monitors say has cost more than 9,100 lives since last March.

Monday’s clashes in the capital came after twin car bombs ripped through two neighborhoods of Damascus on Saturday, killing 27 people, according to the interior ministry.

An Observatory statement said fresh fighting broke out between rebels and security forces in the Qaboon and Barzeh areas of Damascus.

Troops backed by dozens of tanks also raided districts of Deir Ezzor city in eastern Syria, the Observatory said, a day after at least 25 army deserters were killed in seizing its Hamidiyeh district

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