Fighting between Alawite troops and rebels continued into the night on Monday after Damascus witnessed some of the worst battles in the tightly controlled capital since the country's crisis began 16 months ago.
Clashes rocked several neighborhoods in the southwest of the city for a second day on Monday. Rebels fired grenades at tanks and troops while shelling by Alawite forces sent black smoke billowing into the sky.
"I can hear shelling, explosions and gunfire every once in a while", a Kfar Souseh resident told Al Jazeera in the early hours of Tuesday.
Troops deployed armored vehicles near the historic neighborhood of Midan, and activists said residents were fleeing nearby Tadamon.
The fighting briefly closed the highway linking the capital with Damascus International Airport on Monday.
The town of Qatana, 20km away from the capital, was also shelled on Monday. Elsewhere, Alawite troops shelled the besieged Homs districts of Khaldiyeh, Jourat al-Shayah and Qarabees.
To the north, Alawite forces raided the central city of Hama, scene of fierce clashes and a series of loud blasts, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday.