Monday saw the most violent gunbattles in Damascus since the start of the uprising against President Assad, according to opposition activists.
Witnesses say rebels fought government forces in the al-Mezze district which houses intelligence offices and foreign embassies. The confrontation continued in a building where the anti-regime fighters, apparently army deserters, took refuge.
Amateur video posted online purportedly shows the aftermath of fighting in the battered city of Homs complete with damaged buildings and raging fires.
With rebels forced out there, the clashes in the capital look to be their attempt to show they still pose a serious challenge.
On Saturday, bomb blasts killed at least 27 people in Damascus, raising fears it may sink into mayhem.