Damascus: dozens killed in Syria's capital in heaviest day of shelling this month


An anti-Damascus regime supporter expresses his anger over the death of a civilian, while his comrades rest from fighting, in the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighbourhood of the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, on August 22, 2012.



At least 47 people were reported killed in Damascus Wednesday in what activists described as the heaviest shelling so far this month, Reuters reported.

The death toll in Damascus was compiled from various reports by anti-Assad activists, and no government account was immediately available, according to Reuters. The Associated Press cited a lower count of 35, while the Syrian Revolution General Commission said that 43 people were killed in Damascus Wednesday, according to the Guardian.

The UK-based, opposition monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted more than 250 people who had been killed across Syria on Tuesday, Reuters said.

Government forces were also locked in a fight Wednesday for control of the northern city of Aleppo, once Syria's commercial hub, with smaller fights for territory taking place around the country, the AP reported.

Opposition fighters in Aleppo admit that the majority of the city is now in regime hands, the Guardian's Martin Chulov wrote.

"Yes it's true. Around 70 percent of Aleppo city is with the regime. It has always been that way. The countryside is with us and the city is with them," rebel commander Sheikh Tawfik Abu Sleiman told the Guardian.

The conflict in Syria has also spilled over into Lebanon, where at least eight were reported dead and 75 wounded during fights in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, according to the BBC.

The BBC reported that "sectarian tensions in Tripoli have been aggravated by the conflict in Syria." Leaders of a Sunni Muslim and an Alawite district in the city declared a ceasefire this evening. Kidnappings related to the conflict in Syria have also become a problem in Lebanon, unsettling its "precarious sectarian balance," according to NPR.