Despite the troop presence in some areas around Damascus, Syria’s anti-government uprising looks to be creeping nearer the capital.
In some towns no more than a 15-minute drive from the city, a local governor warned that gunmen were walking the streets.
Syrian security refused to accompany the remaining Arab League observers to a number of suburbs because the regime is no longer in control there.
The military showed weapons and other equipment it said it had seized. But the presence of firearms and TV images of casualties lying dead on the pavement can do little to reassure President Assad about his future in power.
The Arab League wants him to quit as part of a transition plan for which it is seeking U.N. support.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in the 10- month revolt, the UN estimates. Rights activists said more than 30 civilians died on Thursday.