Beirut - Columns of black smoke rose over the Syrian capital on Wednesday after the city was hit by another night of clashes between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, an activist group said.
The Local Co-ordination Committees, which organises anti-regime protests on the ground, reported fighting in several districts of the city, and said the Qaboon neighbourhood was bombarded.
The district was pounded again on Wednesday morning, the LCC said, as was the Barzeh neighbourhood, and sustained gunfire was heard.
It also said there was less traffic than normal in the city where fighting has raged since Sunday, with the rebels announcing a full-scale offensive dubbed "the Damascus volcano and earthquakes of Syria".
Regime forces and members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) clashed at dawn on Wednesday in the Al-Midan and Zahira districts of Damascus as well as at Assali south of the city, the LCC said.
It also reported loud explosions heard in the morning in the western suburb of Mashrou-Dumar.
Outside the capital at Jdaidet Artuz, but still in Damascus province, blasts and the sound of gunfire could be heard in the area, where electricity supplies had been cut off.
Northwest of the city near the border with Lebanon, the town of Zabadani was bombarded by regime forces, the LCC said.
In Homs province, heavy weaponry was used to pound Tal Kalakh and several district of Homs city itself, including Khsaldiyeh, Qarabis and Juret al-Shiyah, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It also reported dawn clashes in the Lahedine district of the country's second city of Aleppo, in the north.
Rebel forces on Tuesday said the battle to "liberate" Damascus had begun, as heavy fighting raged across the city with the regime using helicopter gunships in the capital for the first time.
The Observatory said at least 93 people were killed nationwide on Tuesday - among them 48 civilians.