BEIRUT - Syrian jets bombed rebel-held areas of Damascus on Saturday,
residents said, and a countrywide Internet blackout came to an end after two days.
Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad
clashed with troops in most populated areas of the country, according to
opposition activists. At least 40,000 people have been killed during
the 20-month-old uprising, they say.
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights, an opposition-linked monitor, said war planes were bombing
the Damascus suburbs of Kafar Souseh and Darraya.
maintain a presence in these areas, they will hold ground in a
continuous arc from the northeast to southwest of the capital's outer
"Syrian regular forces are trying to control the areas
surrounding the capital and clashed with rebel fighters," the
The mostly Sunni Muslim rebels battling Assad,
who is from Syria's Alawite minority linked to Shi'ite Islam, have been
making gains across Syria by overrunning military bases and have been
ramping up attacks on Damascus, his seat of power.
Thursday, clashes have been reported near the Aqraba and Babilla
districts on the southeastern outskirts of Damascus which lead to the
international airport, effectively closing the road and leading EgyptAir
and Emirates to suspend flights.
state television quoted a ministry of information statement saying the
Damascus international airport was open on Saturday and that the road
leading to it was safe. Opposition activists said clashes continued.
The Internet was working in Damascus and the central city of Homs on Saturday, residents said, after a two-day blackout that experts said was highly likely to have been caused by authorities.
Assad's government has been accused before of cutting Internet and telephone connections to block opposition activist and rebel communications during the 20-month-old revolt.
Authorities had attributed the latest outage to a "terrorist" attack or a technical fault.
"Most people have Internet in the capital now," a resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters over Skype, adding that he was speaking to his friends in Syria using social media.
It was not immediately clear if the Internet was operating countrywide but two activists from the central city of Homs said the service had resumed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked violence monitoring organisation, said connectivity had returned to most provinces.