Reports from Ahram Online
, BBC News
indicate that Syrian troops backed by armoured vehicles entered the city's central district of Midan to drive out rebels who have taken territory which is within striking distance of government institutions. Those who witnessed this event have stated it looks like the biggest military deployment in the capital city since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March of 2011.
These fierce clashes come as the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that Syria is now officially engulfed in a civil war. It added that as this is now the case humanitarian law must be respected by both sides, lest they want to face prosecution for war crimes.
The clashes also come as the U.N. Security Council is set to vote on a resolution regarding the status of the U.N. observer force in Syria, ultimately deciding whether or not they will stay, and if they do what their mission will be. It was initially supposed to oversee the implementation of Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan last April, but there has been no let up in the fighting since then.
One resident who lives in the south of the Syrian capital informed BBC News that "it's mainly the southern parts of the city which are effectively besieged at the moment. There were very few people on the streets, just totally different from how the city is normally. The feeling, among people around me, is that it's our turn now. We are really feeling this. That this is the final fight, building up to who wins control of the regime."
During the Syrian armies attack on rebels in the Midan district the main Damascus-Amman highway was blocked with burning tires by residents of the poor Sunni neighbourhood of Naher Aisheh south of the Midan district in order to ease the pressure on rebels embattled in Midan.