Syria's President Bashar Assad attends Eid Al Fitr prayers - Reuters - August 19, 2012.
Syria's President Bashar Assad attends Eid Al Fitr prayers at al-Hamad mosque in Damascus August 19, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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The Syrian army deployed tanks on a ring road surrounding Damascus on Wednesday and shelled southern neighborhoods where rebels operate, in the heaviest bombardment on the capital since the army reasserted control last month, residents said.

At least eight people were killed in the shelling, which was accompanied by an aerial bombardment, and in ensuing raids on the Kfar Souseh, Daraya, Qadam and Nahr Aisheh neighborhoods, they said.

"The whole of Damascus is shaking with the sound of shelling," a woman in Kfar Souseh neighborhood said. She added that the army's artillery was also firing on the capital, from Qasioun and Saraya mountains, overlooking Damascus.

Maaz al-Shami, a member of the Damascus Media Office, a group of young opposition activists monitoring the crackdown in the capital, said rebels who had left the city during a fierce army campaign last month had started to return.

"They went back to their homes, or disappeared in the green belt surrounding Damascus," Shami said.

"They are back now, and the regime is responding with daily shelling and helicopter bombardment. A war atmosphere in Damascus is setting in," he added.