The Los Angeles Times reports: Syrian tanks and troops moved Sunday to crush resistance in the rebellious suburbs of Damascus, opposition groups reported, bringing the bloody battle that has ravaged the nation for months to the doorsteps of the nation’s capital.
The fierce fighting reported outside Damascus was the latest sign that Syria’s armed insurgency — long concentrated in provincial hotbeds of revolt like Homs, Hama and Dara — has now reached the edge of the city from which the Assad family has ruled Syria in autocratic fashion for more than 40 years. That reign now appears threatened as never before, raising the prospect of a revamped geopolitical alignment in the heart of the volatile Middle East.
More than 250 people have been killed in clashes nationwide since Thursday, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition coalition. The group reported at least 64 deaths on Sunday alone.
The upsurge in violence near Damascus and elsewhere comes as leaders of the Arab League, a 22-member regional confederation, left for New York with hopes of persuading the United Nations Security Council to throw its weight behind a league plan calling on President Bashar Assad to relinquish power. Russia, an ally of Syria that wields veto power on the U.N. Security Council, has said it opposes any international move toward a change in leadership.