DAMASCUS, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were killed and many others wounded on Sunday when rebels rained down the capital Damascus with mortar shells, the official SANA news agency reported.
Eight people were killed in the Damascus' suburb of Dwaila, while the four in other districts of the capital, namely in Shagur, Tabbaleh, and Bustan al-Dur, according to SANA. Undisclosed numbers of Syrians were also injured when mortars landed in downtown Damascus, mainly at the Umayyad Square, the Sheraton Hotel, and Mazzeh neighborhood.
Besides mortar shells, pro-government activists said the rebels, for the first time, fired Katyusha rockets to the capital.
Meanwhile, SANA said two more civilians were killed in Aleppo during a similar rebel attack against a pro-government district of the troublesome city.
SANA also reported clashes between government troops and the armed rebels in the eastern countryside of Damascus, adding that the Syrian army inflicted hefty losses on the rebels there, reportedly killing as many as 15 armed rebels on Sunday in the northern province of Idlib during clashes in the mountainous region of Jisr al-Shughour.
On the opposition side, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 34 people were killed in a Syrian airstrike against rebel-held areas in the eastern countryside of Damascus. The violence comes at a time when the Syrian troops and its affiliate forces are still deadlocked in battles with the rebels in rugged al-Qalamoun region on the borders with Lebanon.
The pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen TV said the Syrian artillery and air force backed the Lebanese forces during the battles between radical groups and the Lebanese military positions in Lebanon's border town of Ersal. It said the Syrian forces shelled the rebel positions in Ersal.
The radical rebels' onslaught in Lebanon is a stark sign of the spillover effect of the Syrian crisis, which has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions of others.