EyewitnessThe mid-day news update is provided by Shahed News, a network of vetted Syrian citizen journalists providing independent, accurate and reliable news from Damascus and its suburbs.

Damascus:

* Damascus is relatively calm today. Regime forces have closed most of the alleys to al-Senaa district with concrete barriers.

Outer Damascus:

* Regime forces withdrew from the town of Hafer al-Foukah after invading it with tanks and infantry in the morning.

* Regime uses heavy mortar and rocket bombardment on the town of Bait Sahem. At the same time, heavy clashes [between the rebels and the army] occurred around it. The cities of Duma and Zamalka were bombed by regime forces as well.

* Heavy clashes between the FSA and the army in the town of al-Abbadah. Heavy bombardment targeted the town.

* Smoke rises above the town of al-Ephteries in Eastern Ghouta after air force bombardment.

* The [regime] heavy bombardment continues on al-Mouadamiyah, killing a little girl and injuring a number of people.

* The bombardment continues on Darayya, as more army reinforcements have been sent.

* Regime forces renews its tank, mortar and artillery bombardments on Zabadani.

* Brigade 155 fires a Scud at northern Syria.

Politics:

* The British foreign minister says that Syria has become humanity’s largest disaster in the 21st century.

* Sheik Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the Syrian National Coalition, says that al-Qaeda’s ideology is not accepted by the Syrian people. He said that the rebels inside must take a clear stance on that. He also stressed that there are some people who are trying to impose their agendas on the rebels inside, including Jabhat a-Nusra.

* The French foreign ministry says that they have not backed off on arming the opposition in Syria, but they want guarantees regarding the groups who will receive these weapons.