Three people were killed by mortar fire in a central district of the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, a monitoring group and state media said.

Rebels fighting to overthrow president Bashar al-Assad have managed to hit central Damascus with rockets and mortar fire during the three-year conflict, despite firm government control over the heart of the city. Residents say the mainly Sunni Muslim insurgents have stepped up the attacks in recent weeks as government forces have tightened their grip over central parts of the country.

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