Front lines have remained fairly static since then, though both sides have at times sought to encircle the other by advancing in the countryside around the city. It is the last opposition-held town in the Qalamoun region.
Local residents said one of the rockets hit near the well-known Damas Rose Hotel, blowing out some of its windows but causing little damage otherwise. The Syrian state news agency reported that one person was killed and two wounded.
Syrian state TV quoted a military official as saying that “terrorists suffered large losses”.
“The coalition conducted multiple air strikes in northern Syria to deny Daesh’s freedom to manoeuvre”, coalition chief of staff Brigadier General Kevin Killea said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, which has close ties with the Hezbollah, said the Syrian troops captured the surrounding hills of Zabadani recently to pave the way for Saturday’s assault.
Over 2,000 rebels from groups that include al Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot Nusra Front have planted mines and fortified their positions inside the besieged city ahead of expected heavy street fighting, rebels contacted by phone said.
Aleppo, once Syria’s economic powerhouse, has been divided between the government in the west and rebels in the east since shortly after fighting there began in mid-2012.
The video documents an execution that reportedly happened shortly after the jihadist group captured the city on May 21.
In what appeared to be retaliation for the Zabadani offensive, rebels shelled Damascus, striking several neighborhoods.
The Observatory said the resort was subjected to more than 90 air strikes yesterday.
There was no immediate toll for regime forces.
The fighting, which began on Saturday, has resulted in the death of at least 14 Syrian and Hezbollah soldiers, while 11 fighters for the al-Qaida linked group have been killed according to the SyrianObservatory for Human Rightsreported. Survivors said that a masked man entered the mosque with an explosives belt soon after a auto passed blaring an Islamic State chant, “Soon you will see what amazes you”, a cleric affiliated with the Nusra Front said on Twitter.
“Operations are continuing with dozens of terrorists killed and wounded”, it added.
“God willing, our spirits are high they won’t enter the city unless we are all martyrs or we have killed them”, said Abdullah Anas, a fighter from the hard-line Islamist group Ahrar al Sham.
Security sources say the joint operation in Zabadani, which started several days ago, has forced a considerable number of militants to withdraw from the town and the surrounding areas.