Heavy clashes in outskirts of Syrian capital, activists say

BEIRUT - Fierce fighting broke out in the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus, and surrounding suburbs late on Wednesday, anti-government activists said.
Residents in Damascus city center said they heard heavy gunfire from the fighting, while activists in nearby suburbs s a id they heard explosions and machine gun fire. In some areas, local activists reported seeing helicopters buzzing overhead.
Syrian rebels in the 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad's rule have been trying to bring the fight closer to the government's stronghold.
While Assad's forces have maintained control of the capital and northern business hub Aleppo, fighting has been increasing in and around the cities.