AMMAN - Street battles raged on the doorstep of the Syrian capital on Monday, as Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops sought to consolidate their grip on suburbs rebel fighters had taken only a few miles from the center of Assad's power.
Activists and residents said Syrian troops now had control of Hamouriyeh, one of a cluster of districts where they have used armored vehicles and artillery to beat back rebels who came as close as eight km (five miles) to Damascus.
An activist said the Free Syrian Army - a force of military defectors with links to Syria's divided political opposition - mounted scattered attacks on government troops who advanced through the district of Saqba, held by rebels just days ago.
"Street fighting has been raging since dawn," he said, adding tanks were moving through a central avenue of the neighborhood. "The sound of gunfire is everywhere."