(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian regime forces battled rebel groups at the fringes of Damascus on Sunday, after the insurgents launched an attack from the east of the heavily fortified capital, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and allied forces had engaged in heavy clashes with rebels in the Jobar district, at the eastern edge of Damascus.
Rebel groups attacked regime positions in the area, including with two suicide car bombs, in an attempt to storm their defense lines, the Britain-based Observatory said.
The district stands between Damascus and the besieged rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta in the suburbs, which government air strikes have battered in recent weeks.
Warplanes pounded the Jobar area on Sunday, while rebel shells hit several nearby districts in Damascus, including Bab Touma, Rukn al-Din and the Abbasiyin area, the Observatory said.
Syrian state television said the army was fighting to repel an attack by militants in Jobar.
Sounds of shelling and gunfire could be heard in Damascus since the morning, a resident said.
It has for weeks concentrated air strikes on the northern and eastern suburbs, effectively ending a ceasefire that rebels in the area agreed with the Syrian army which had been in place since the end of 2013. Barza also agreed a full truce with the government in 2014.
Also, the suburbs of Barza, Qaboun and Tishrin had already been isolated from the main rebel enclave in Eastern Ghouta, a region that has witnessed increasing violence since the beginning of the year.
The army and its allies are trying to force rebels to agree to truces similar to those that have led to the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters to northern Syria from other besieged pockets. (With Reuters)