World

Government, rebel shelling in and around Syrian capital kills 18

  • Smoke and explosions from the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Syrian rebels attacked government troops’ positions Wednesday near the Golan Heights in what appears to be an attempt by insurgents to capture more areas south of Syria from President Bashar Assad’s forces, activists said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Smoke and explosions from the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Syrian rebels attacked government troops’ positions Wednesday near the Golan Heights in what appears to be an attempt by insurgents to capture more areas south of Syria from President Bashar Assad’s forces, activists said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • Smoke and explosions from the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Syrian rebels attacked government troops’ positions Wednesday near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in what appears to be an attempt by insurgents to capture more areas south of Syria from President Bashar Assad’s forces, activists said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Smoke and explosions from the fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Syrian rebels attacked government troops’ positions Wednesday near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in what appears to be an attempt by insurgents to capture more areas south of Syria from President Bashar Assad’s forces, activists said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)  (The Associated Press)

Syria's state news agency and opposition activists say shelling in and around the capital has killed at least 18 people.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency says two shells struck Arnous Park in Damascus late Tuesday as many people were out shopping ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, expected to begin Thursday. It says the shells killed nine people and wounded 13.

The shelling came after government forces fired rockets into the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that the government fired Iranian-made "elephant" rockets on Douma, killing nine people, including two children and six women.

Government forces and opposition fighters have exchanged shelling the past.

Airstrikes, artillery and rockets have destroyed wide areas of the Damascus suburbs in recent months.