Syrian rebels Thursday unleashed a barrage of rockets on Damascus, and terrified residents reported at least two people killed.
Civilians hurried for shelter as almost 50 rockets, by the count of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, fell in government-held central districts.
Locals said security forces in four-wheel-drive vehicles and pick-ups mounted with machine guns raced around otherwise empty streets.
The attacks came two days after the leader of the largest faction in the rebel-held eastern suburbs said the capital would be considered a “military zone.”
Zahran Alloush, commander of the Army of Islam, warned residents to stay away from security installations and keep off the streets during working hours.
Alloush wrote on Twitter that a list of military and security buildings had been targeted, but locals said the barrage had hit mostly residential areas.
The attack came “in response to the savage air raids carried out by the regime on the city of Douma and other cities in the eastern Ghouta,” Alloush said.
The government-held central and northern areas of the capital have largely been spared destruction during the conflict, which will soon enter its fourth year.
Poor suburbs in the Ghouta region on the outskirts of the city, where the Army of Islam and other mostly Islamist rebel groups are in control, have been heavily hit by government shelling and air raids.
They have also been effectively besieged by government forces. A lack of supplies has forced rebels in several areas to accept ceasefires.