By CNN News
Fresh explosions and riveting gunfire punctuated the pre-dawn hours Monday in cities around Syria, opposition activists said, with the ongoing violence coming on the heels of yet another bloody weekend in the embattled nation.
Around 3 a.m., the Local Coordination Committees of Syria — a network of opposition activists — reported on its Facebook page that at least three major blasts in a few hours had rattled the Damascus neighborhood Mazzeh, where persistent gunfire rang out for at least an hour.
The same group also reported other pockets of violence early Monday around the capital, including “intense shooting” in Dummar and Keswa “from the security checkpoints all over the city.” Some of the latest violence appeared to pit Syrian government forces against members of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
That included clashes in Douma, where the LCC reported “shooting from all the checkpoints in the city … as a result of clashes between the Free Syrian Amry and the regime’s army.”
In Deir Ezzor, Free Syrian Army members purportedly destroyed “the Division of the Countryside,” a government ministry, as the opposition fighters battled government forces who were subjecting them to “intense shelling.”
The activist network also reported Monday morning that regime forces had “launched a looting campaign” of homes in the Aleppo suburb of Atareb, even occupying some homes whose residents had fled the city due to perilous shelling.
CNN cannot independently confirm reports of casualties or attacks in Syria because the government has severely restricted the access of international journalists. But more than 8,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the United Nations. Opposition activists say the overall toll is more than 9,000, most of them civilians.
That includes dozens reportedly killed around the country Sunday, including three killed in addition to at least 25 others wounded in a car bombing in the northern city of Aleppo. The bomb detonated near the political security branch in Aleppo, which is Syria’s largest city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency described the blast as a “terrorist bombing” and said that two people were killed. The explosion ripped the facade off a residential building, the government news agency said. The blast occurred a day after 27 people died after two “booby-trapped” cars exploded in crowded areas of Damascus, said SANA. The blasts also injured 140 people and caused serious damage to surrounding buildings, according to the official news agency.
A Syrian rebel leader vehemently refuted the government’s claim that so-called “terrorists” — not the regime itself — were behind the Damascus blasts.