Heavy fighting reported in Damascus

The civil war is coming home to President Bashar Assad. The Syrian army and rebels clashed in a neighborhood close to the city center. New York Times: On Sunday, some of the heaviest fighting yet experienced in Damascus erupted in a neighborhood about a 20-minute drive southwest of the city center, with activists calling it the first time government forces have shelled rebel holdouts in the capital. The fighting extended into Monday, residents and activists said, while inconclusive diplomatic efforts to find a way out of the crisis seemed certain to run into renewed Russian resistance to any outcome that aimed at pressuring President Bashar al-Assad to leave office. In advance of a visit by Kofi Annan, the special Syria envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia told a news conference in Moscow that there were "elements of blackmail" in the Western approach to the crisis at the United Nations. His remarks suggested that...(Read Full Post)