Heavy fighting has been reported in the heart of Damascus between soldiers and Free Syrian Army, according to various news agencies. On Sunday, the country's international airport was shut down by the clashes.
According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, the clashes in the capital neighborhood on Sunday left 105 dead, including 48 civilians, 16 rebels and 41 soldiers.
"The regular army launches mortar shells against several neighborhoods," in Damascus, said the director of the SOHR Rami Abdel Rahman, adding that these were the most intense clashes in Damascus.
Opposition activist Mustafa Osso told reporters, "It seems there is a new strategy by the Free Syrian Army to bring the fighting into the center of the capital. The capital used to be safe. This will threaten the regime.”
The fighting was centered in the Damascus districts of Tadamon, Qatana, Midan and Kfar Souseh, activists told Associated Press.
Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia believes Syrian President Bashar Assad has sufficient domestic support to be able to stay in power irrespective of what foreign governments think about his regime.
The Russian minister reiterated Moscow's opposition to a draft resolution on Syria currently discussed in the U.N. Security Council, which includes the threat sanctions as well as the use of military force.
These threats include "elements of blackmail," said Lavrov, who urged Security Council members to support the Russian draft resolution that imposes no sanctions against President Assad's regime. "We believe this approach is absolutely counterproductive and dangerous, because it is unacceptable to use the observers as a bargaining chip," said Lavrov.
"We will not allow the adoption of a resolution at the Security Council which is not based on the Geneva Accord," he warned, referring to the June 30 meeting in Geneva of the Action on Syria Group who agreed in principle to a transition process in Syria.
"If our partners nonetheless decide to block our resolution, then the mission of the U.N, (observers) will be extended and they will leave Syria. This would be a shame," he added.
In related news, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said Monday it had asked the Syrian ambassador, now persona non grata in Morocco, to leave the country immediately.
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not provided any explanation for its decision, but said that the situation in Syria could "not remain as it is."
Earlier in the day, an official of the Syrian diplomatic mission had denied rumors of a defection of the ambassador.
In response to the measure declared by Rabat, the Syrian government announced later on Monday that Morocco's ambassador to Damascus was now "persona non grata" in Syria.