The Syrian military has purportedly launched fresh air strikes in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, according to a video uploaded by activists. Signs continue to build that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime could be close to falling. While Iran has denied rumours emanating from the West, another key ally – Russia – has sent warships to the Mediterranean to prepare for a potential evacuation of its citizens. Just three kilometres from the centre of Damascus, clashes continue at the Yarmouk refugee camp which was stormed by Syrian rebels. The densely-populated districts of the city have become home to thousands of Palestinians over the years. Rebels have been battling an armed Palestinian group loyal to the regime. When the uprising began 21 months ago, the estimated 500,000 Palestinians living in Syria mostly stayed on the sidelines. Observers say, as the conflict escalates, most are now backing the rebels. The battle at Yarmouk is one of a series of conflicts on the southern fringes of the capital, Assad’s traditional heartland. At the border with Turkey, a journalist with American TV network NBC has spoken for the first time about his kidnap ordeal. Richard Engel described how he and his crew were seized on Thursday after crossing into Syria. They were kept bound and blindfolded and were repeatedly threatened.