A Syrian rebel runs with his AK-47 towards a Syrian army checkpoint in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, March 17, 2012.
BEIRUT (AP) - Activists say more than 40 civilians have been killed in violence around Syria today, not counting any casualties in Damascus.
The capital is seeing some of the heaviest violence yet since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March 2011. Residents of Damascus describe bullets and shrapnel shells smashing into homes overnight. Rebels armed mainly with assault rifles fought Syrian forces for nearly 12 hours.
U.N. observers took video of the scene and say rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the local power plant, damaging parts of it and charring six buses. An activist says Syrian forces fired at least three tank shells into residential areas in central Damascus.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says those killed today included 20 people, including nine women and children, who died in heavy, pre-dawn shelling in the southern city of Daraa. Thousands of Daraa residents turned out to bury the victims.
Government troops also carried out raids and shelled neighborhoods in the central city of Homs.
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