Fierce fighting rages in restive districts of Damascus
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels and government troops clashed Sunday in restive districts of Damascus, a monitoring group said, as representatives of the warring sides met for peace talks in Geneva.
"Fierce fighting raged between rebels and troops in Jobar (in eastern Damascus) and the Port Said area of Qadam (in the south)," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A mortar round, likely launched by rebels hit the central Qassaa district, while troops pounded opposition-held Douma northeast of the capital, said the Britain-based monitor.
It also reported that a choking army siege on the Yarmuk Palestinian camp in southern Damascus claimed six new lives on Sunday as a result of food and medical shortages.
"The number of people who have died in besieged Yarmuk as a result of food and medical shortages since last June has risen to 75, including 24 women and four children," said the Observatory, which relies on activists and doctors for its reports.
The violence in Syria came as opposition and regime representatives meeting in Geneva discussed ways for aid to reach rebel-held areas besieged by government troops, especially in the central city of Homs.
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is mediating the Geneva talks, said he hopes a deal can be reached on sending aid convoys on Sunday or Monday to Homs.
Hundreds of families in the Old City are living under siege with near-daily shelling and the barest of supplies.
Violence meanwhile raged in Aleppo, once Syria's commercial capital and now ravaged by nearly 18 months of all-out war.
According to reports cited by the Observatory, a 15-year-old boy was shot dead by an army sniper in the divided city.
His death comes a day after 18 people, among them six children, were killed in an air strike targeting Aleppo's opposition-held Salihin district, the Observatory added.
Syria's nearly three-year war has killed more than 130,000 people and forced millions more to flee their homes.
The fates of the thousands jailed, kidnapped or missing in Syria were also on the table Sunday in Geneva.