You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

3

13

▲  9th Inning 2 outs

Battles in Damascus expand to suburbs

BEIRUT — Clashes between Syrian insurgents and loyalist troops in Damascus raged for a second day on Thursday and spread to the suburbs and other areas, activist groups reported. Fighting also erupted in the large Palestinian refugee neighborhood of Yarmouk on the capital’s southern outskirts, which had already been drawn into the civil war at least twice in the past few months.

The expanded mayhem, described as some of the worst fighting to afflict Damascus in months, offered further indication that any hope for a diplomatic resolution to the nearly 2-year-old conflict has all but evaporated. Those hopes were resurrected last week when the leader of Syria’s largest political opposition group suggested holding talks with President Bashar Assad’s government.

Continue reading below

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, characterized the clashes on Thursday as terrorist assaults. It said that government forces in at least a dozen suburbs had vanquished or killed many attackers, including some who were disguised as women and others who were caught with antiaircraft weapons.

But the scope of the clashes described in the SANA dispatch seemed to corroborate that the fighting had intensified close to the center of government power in Syria, forcing the military to go back into areas it had repeatedly sought to secure.

Among the affected suburbs, for example, was Daraya, ­famous as an early hotbed of antigovernment protest and the site of one of the war’s deadliest episodes back in August, when the Syrian military stormed Daraya in what it called a “cleansing” operation that left hundreds dead.

The Local Coordination Committees, an anti-Assad network inside Syria, reported fierce clashes between government forces and fighters of the Free Syrian Army at an entrance to Yarmouk, a longtime Palestinian refugee encampment south of Damascus that is politically delicate.

Both Assad and his opponents have sought the allegiance of the tens of thousands of Palestinians in Syria who were displaced decades ago by the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yarmouk was convulsed by fighting in December, when insurgents temporarily seized control, and again in early January.

Anti-Assad activist groups also reported an explosion near Hama that killed at least 20 government defense workers.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.