BEIRUT Syrian rebels battled regime troops south of Damascus on Friday, and Internet and most telephone lines remained cut a second day, but the government reopened the road to the capital’s airport in a sign that the fighting could be subsiding, activists said.
President Bashar Assad’s regime and opposition activists blamed each other for the Internet blackout, which is the first to hit the whole country since Syria’s 20-month-old uprising began.
Syrian authorities previously have cut Internet and telephones in areas ahead of military operations. On Friday, some land lines were working sporadically.
An AP reporter in the capital said Damascus was largely quiet, although there were sounds of fighting in the suburbs.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the main road to Damascus’ airport reopened early Friday afternoon. There were intense clashes after midnight in villages and towns near the facility, but the area was calm by the late morning, the group said. It said rebels destroyed several army vehicles near the airport.
The Observatory, which has a network of activists around Syria, reported fighting in other southern neighborhoods of Damascus, including Qaboun and Hajar Aswad. The Observatory said it was able to contact its sources who used satellite telephones.