Jan. 30 - Syrian troops seize eastern suburbs of Damascus from rebel forces just a few kilometres from President Bashar al-Assad's centre of power. Paul Chapman reports.
This footage from a social media website purportedly shows scenes in the Erbeen suburb of Damascus during clashes between Syrian troops and rebel fighters. In the background what appears to be gunfire can be heard. Reuters has not been able to independently verify the content of the video. But there are signs the unrest is spreading in Damascus. Reports on Monday said Syrian forces had re-captured the eastern suburbs of the capital from the rebels after two days of fighting. Activists say soldiers moved in at dawn on Sunday along with at least 50 tanks and other armoured vehicles. They say at least 19 rebels and civilians were killed in the initial onslaught. Further video posted on the internet appears to show fighting in Homs province. Opposition reports suggest at least 14 people were killed in fighting there on Sunday. Other video, also not independently verified by Reuters, purportedly shows a funeral procession in the northern province in Idlib. Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad say Eyad Taha was killed by his forces. The United Nations says Syrian troops have killed more than 5, 000 people. They include a Christian priest reported to have lost his life on Wednesday during fighting in the town of Hama. Syria says more than 2, 000 members of its security forces have perished in the uprising it blames on foreign-backed militants. The fighting is creeping closer to Assad's centre of power in Damascus but he's still resisting demands to step down and make way for a government of national unity. Paul Chapman, Reuters