The Alawite army has deployed Russian-made tanks on a ring road surrounding Damascus and shelled liberated southern neighborhoods, the heaviest bombardment in the capital.
At least 40 people were killed in the shelling, which was accompanied by attacks from Russian helicopters, and in ensuing ground raids on the Kfar Souseh, Daraya, Qadam and Nahr Aisha neighborhoods. The whole of Damascus is shaking with the sound of shelling.
The Alawite artillery was also firing on the capital from the Qasioun and Saraya mountains overlooking Damascus.
Meanwhile, freedom fighters who had left the city during a fierce Alawite army campaign last month started to return. They went back to their homes, or disappeared in the green belt surrounding Damascus. They are back now, and the Assad's regime is responding with daily shelling and Russian helicopter bombardment. A war atmosphere in Damascus is setting in.
The renewed attacks followed a bloody Alawite raid on the Maadamiya neighborhood on Tuesday. At least 42 civilians were massacred by Alawites in this mixed suburb. Alawite regime troops targeted a funeral procession, and that dozens of unidentified bodies of peaceful Muslims were found in a basement as well.
Heavy shelling and clashes also continued on Tuesday across swathes of Aleppo, the country's largest city, as the freedom fighters were gaining ground in the key northern battleground.
At least 24 people were killed nationwide by Assad's troops on Tuesday, among them women and children in Aleppo.