SYRIA- Press reports on Tuesday reports that Syrian Activists say Syrian government forces have used helicopter gunships to battle rebels in the capital Damascus.
Violence is continuing to spread across Syria and in the capital Damascus as rebels - now better-equipped and more organised - confront the army and government-backed militia.
The activists say that helicopters fired heavy machine guns during overnight clashes in the neighborhoods of Qadam and Hajar al-Aswad.
They say Damascus has been relatively quiet since 8 a.m. Tuesday after three days of intense clashes between troops and rebels.
The fighting has been the most sustained and widespread in the capital since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad`s regime 16 months ago.
Syrian Rebels are calling the operation, which appears to be a full-scale attack on the centre of government power, the "Damascus volcano".
Press reports quoted Tuesday an activist who says “Fighting is intensifying around the Syrian capital Damascus,”
On Tuesday, shooting was reported in many quarters and places inside the capital Damascus, at Baghdad Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares and al-Midan, Ruken Eddin, Mezzeh Jabal, Kafar Souseh and Basateen al-Razi neighborhoods, according to press reports.
Agence France-Presse news agency said there was machine-gun fire in nearby Saba`a Bahrat square, site of the Central Bank and scene of several major pro-government demonstrations.
"The army is shelling al-Midan hysterically; the collapsing regime has gone mad," one activist told AFP.
There were also reports of tanks in the south-western suburb of al-Midan, and clashes involving helicopters in the north and north-east of the city.
International Press keeps telling that the Syrian government restricts access to the country by independent media, making verification of events difficult.
For its part, Syria's state-run news agency (SANA) said Tuesday troops are still chasing "terrorist elements" who fled from Nahr Aisha to al-Midan.
On Monday, SANA reported “Syrian authorities chased an armed terrorist group in Naher Aisha area in Damascus countryside on Monday. This group had fled al-Tadamon neighborhood on Sunday.”
SANA added that weapons and ammunition were seized from the place and other areas around capital Damascus, Idleb, Aleppo, Homs, deir Ezzour and other areas. Some clashes were also reported at these areas according to SANA.
Also on Monday, Lt. Gen. Rostom Ghazale refuted the news reports about him and his family by biased channels, saying that they are baseless and shows the bankruptcy of the instigating channels which are accomplices in shedding Syrian blood.
Ghazale on Monday told Addounya TV that he's carrying out his work and duties as normal, and that all of his family members are well and among their relatives, adding that the reports broadcast by malicious channels are mere lies meant to raise the morale of terrorists.
Lt. Gen. Rostom Ghazale stressed that the Syrian Arab Army is strong and tightly-knit and stronger than these channels and their news, according to SANA.
The fighting reports from Damascus come as UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan holds talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Syria, and also UN chief Ban Ki-moon in China for same purpose too.
Russia and China, key allies of President al-Assad and veto-wielding council members, have blocked repeated attempts by the United States and its European allies to even threaten "consequences" -- a diplomatic code word for sanctions.
The conflict in Syria has defied every international attempt to bring peace, and there was no sign that the plan Annan would be a breakthrough. Although President Bashar al-Assad government’s crackdown has turned the Syrian president into an international pariah, he still has the support of strong allies including Russia, Iran and China.