In this image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News and accessed Monday, July 23, 2012, Syrian government troops are seen on a military tank as it catches on fire during clashes with Free Syrian Army soldiers in Aleppo, Syria. [...] (AP Photo)
BAB AL-SALAM, Syria (Reuters) - Syrian troops have driven rebel fighters out of two districts of Damascus a week after the insurgents launched a major assault on the capital.Ramadan death count moves up to 547.
Government troops retook control of the Damascus neighborhood of Mezzeh on Sunday and executed at least 20 unarmed men who they suspected of aiding rebels, opposition activists in the district said.
In Barzeh, members of the Syrian army's Fourth Division under the command of President Bashar al-Assad's brother executed several young men [at least 5 - ed.] during an operation to regain control of the northern Damascus district, a witness and activists said.
Government forces have launched a determined counter-offensive since rebels brought their battle to overthrow Assad to the capital and killed four of the president's closest associates in a bomb attack last Wednesday.
In a further escalation of a conflict rapidly becoming a civil war, fighting raged around the intelligence headquarters in Syria's biggest city, Aleppo, and in Deir al-Zor in the east.