Syrian troops and gunmen clash in the capital

BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Published:

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists and witnesses say security forces have clashed with gunmen in an upscale western neighborhood of the capital Damascus home to embassies and senior officials.

A resident of Mazzeh district says automatic rifles and machineguns were used in the two-hour clash that ended at about 4 a.m. local time Monday.

Armed rebels are active in Damascus' suburbs and satellite towns but rarely venture into the heart of the capital where President Bashar Assad's troops are deployed in force.

An activist in the capital said the clash occurred near the Political Security Directorate building.

The activist and resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisal, had no immediate word about casualties.