64 die as Damascus rocked by fighting, shelling: NGO
BEIRUT: Rebel belts around Damascus were rocked by fighting and heavy shelling for a second straight day today as the army pressed a major offensive that a watchdog said killed 64 people in 24 hours.
Among those killed were five civilians, three of them women, who died when mortars slammed into the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in the south of the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The watchdog and a Syrian security official had yesterday reported the launch by President Bashar al-Assad's forces of a fierce offensive on rebel belts on the outskirts of Damascus, while residents reported the heaviest bombardments in months.
The Observatory reported today that 21 civilians, 32 rebels and 11 soldiers have been killed since the launch of the offensive, which is focused in the southern and eastern outskirts of the capital.