A day after the attack on the national security headquarters that killed three top officials, a Damascus-based reporter describes the fear and fighting on the streets of the Syrian capital.
The scene in Damascus is very different today - there is no movement in town, most shops are closed and there is a heavy sense of fear and tension.
There are very few cars on the streets and the number of pedestrians walking around can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
It looks like any Friday morning during these times of tension when people prefer to stay at home to avoid the gunfire. But, even on Fridays, some people would still go to cafes and some restaurants. This seems less likely today.
Most workers who come in from suburbs did not make it to work or were afraid to leave home. The suburbs are cut off and even in parts of areas close to the city centre like Midan, Zahera, Qaboun and Barzeh people either fled or were unable to leave their homes. The battle is now too close.
The killing of Defence Minister Daoud Rajiha, President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and Gen Hassan Turkomani has shaken the country.
Many people believe this will weaken the regime from within, especially as it is believed an insider was behind it.
'City of refugees'
The whole city is shaken. Worried about passing any government building or checkpoint, people are choosing to stay at home instead.
Syrian official media have shown pictures of troops involved in fighting in the Midan area of Damascus
Overnight, the sound of explosions and gunfire was heard in several areas, sometimes very close to the city centre...