Syrian activists report hearing gunfire and explosions in suburbs of Damascus as the country's conflict moves ever closer to the capital.

Monday's reports by the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, could not be independently confirmed.

On Sunday, Syrian troops in dozens of tanks and armored vehicles stormed rebellious areas near the capital, shelling neighborhoods that have fallen under the control of army dissidents and clashing with fighters.

Activists and residents said at least 62 people were killed in violence nationwide.

The widescale Sunday offensive suggested the regime is worried that military defectors could close in on Damascus, the seat of President Bashar Assad's power.