Heavy fighting raged on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday as elite troops backed by tanks tried to recapture a strategic suburb from rebels in one of the largest military operations in that district in months, opposition activists said.

Five people, including one child, died from army rocket fire that hit Daraya, the activists said. Daraya is one of a series of interconnected Sunni Muslim suburbs that ring Syria's capital and have been at the forefront of the 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.