Airstrikes and clashes intensified Tuesday as Syrian opposition fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fight for control of areas in eastern Damascus, according to a monitoring group, rebels and a resident in the city.

"Large explosions and fierce clashes, and the sound of government heavy air strikes on opposition positions are continuing," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told dpa.

Fighting is heavy around the electricity company and inside the neighbourhood of Jobar and its outskirts.

Around 143 strikes have been carried on areas of the clashes, most of it targeting the neighbourhood of Jobar, he added.

Earlier Tuesday, opposition rebels, led by hardline Islamist groups, launched a new attack on Syrian government posts in the capital, the second such assault in three days.

Militants from an alliance led by the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and allied rebels scored some gains Sunday, seizing several buildings in Jobar before advancing into the neighbouring Abbasid Square area, which is very close to the capital's centre.

However, forces loyal to al-Assad managed to take back most of the positions by Monday morning with the help of airstrikes.

In their counter-attack, fighters responded by shelling the Abbasid and Teejara neighbourhoods near Jobar, a few kilometres from the city centre, scoring some advances in the so-called industrial area, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

A resident, who requested anonymity, told dpa by phone that the sound of clashes had been audible across the capital since the early morning. People are confined to their homes for fear that the shelling might target the centre of the city.

Fearing for their lives, some families left Damascus towards the coastal government-held areas in Latakia province, she said.

The spokesman for the Islamist rebel group Faylaq al-Rahman, Wael Olwan, told dpa that fighters are advancing towards a key transportation hub near Abbasid Square.

"We managed to take back all posts which we were obliged to withdraw from under the heavy shelling yesterday," he said.

Syrian television reported that troops managed to foil an attempt by the fighters to advance into areas in eastern Damascus.

The state-run SANA news agency, citing police sources, reported that several shells fired by rebels fell on the area of Barzeh, inflicting 12 casualties. He did not specify the number of dead or wounded.

The Observatory said 25 people were injured in the shelling that targeted Barzeh and areas like Bab touma and Jarmana which are located in the suburbs of the capital.

Meanwhile, militants from an alliance led by the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and allied rebels announced late Tuesday that they have started a wide-scale attack on regime-held areas at the outskirts of the central province of Hama.

According to the Observatory the attack started by setting off two booby-trapped cars near a regime post in an area in the northern countryside of the city of Hama.

A rebel source told dpa that they managed to break the front defences of the regime forces north of the city of Souran.

Hama was the scene of an Islamist revolt in 1982 against the regime of Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar, who ruled Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000.

Al-Assad at the the time crushed the revolt killing thousands of people and destroying large parts of the old city.

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