The Syrian government this week dismissed a demand by the Arab League for Mr Assad to cede power to a transitional unity government. Walid al-Mouallem, foreign minister, said Syria was “like a mountain that never shakes in the wind”.
Despite that vivid claim, overnight clashes were reported in the Irbin area on Thursday, while the Arab League observers did not go further than a government checkpoint in the nearby district of Zamalka. Two corpses lay on the pavement there, a soldier and a civilian dumped that morning by regime opponents, a Syrian military commander claimed. Hussein Makhlouf, governor of the area, told the Arab peace monitors that the authorities were seeking a truce with local rebels.
The Free Syrian Army checkpoint was one of several in place this week in the area around Irbin and neighbouring Seqba, whose proximity to the capital is fast making it a critical battleground between the opposition and the regime.
Continue reading article: Syrian revolt creeps closer to Damascus (Financial Times)