AMMAN – Heavy fighting erupted in Damascus on Wednesday as rebels launched an offensive against President Bashar Assad’s forces, breaking a lull in the conflict, opposition activists said.
Assad’s forces also came under attack in the east of the country, where a suicide car bomb struck a military intelligence compound in the city of Palmyra, causing dozens of casualties, they said.
Authorities in Damascus closed the main Abbasid Square and the Fares al-Khoury thoroughfare as fighters attacked roadblocks and fortifications with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
“The areas of Jobar, Zamalka, al-Zablatani and parts of Qaboun and the ring road have become a battleground,” activist Fida Mohammad said from the district of Qaboun.
Another activist said an army tank stationed at the main al-Kabbas roadblock on the ring road had been destroyed. Residents reported explosions across the east and north of the capital.
In Jobar, a working-class Sunni Muslim area adjacent to Abbasid Square, mosque speakers chanted “God is Greatest” in support of opposition fighters who attacked roadblocks in the neighborhood, activists said.
A bomb destroyed part of the back wall of the military intelligence compound near the Roman-era ruins in the city and then a suicide car bomber drove through, detonating the vehicle and destroying parts of the facility, activists in Palmyra said.