For most of the last six years of the war in Syria, the capital has been shielded from the destruction and desperation in much of the country.
However, rebels launched a surprise attack on government forces, making significant gains in the eastern part of the city.
The advance on Sunday was launched from the Jobar neighbourhood, linking it to Qaboun and other areas in the north that have been under government siege.
Syrian forces responded with air strikes, shelling, and sniper fire and the fighting came close to the Old City of Damascus.
Is it a serious blow to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad? And could the rebels become even stronger?
Presenter: Hazem Sika
Issam Al Reis – spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front
Lina Khatib – head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House
Mamoun Abu Nowar – retired Jordanian air force general and military analyst
Source: Al Jazeera News