At least 33 people were killed after the Syrian government’s troops shelled a Damascus suburb under rebel control, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
Rankous, a mountain town of 25,000 people, 30 km (19 miles) north of Damascus, has been under tank bombardment since Wednesday when it was besieged by several thousand troops led by the elite Fourth Division under the command of President Bashar Assad's brother Maher.
The bombardment, the second major attack on Rankous since November when it was stormed by troops loyal to Assad, was aimed at dislodging army defectors and insurgents.
There were no immediate reports about casualties among civilians.
At least 5,000 people have been killed in ten-month-long clashes between the government and the protesters in Syria, according to UN estimates. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.