(CNN) -- Emboldened rebels fighting to hasten the fall of Syria's government set their sights on the capital, Damascus, as diplomats went into high gear amid concerns about chemical weapons.
"Our country will be free, we have no one but God," protesters rallying against President Bashar al-Assad chanted Friday in Douma, outside the capital. "The glad tidings are coming."
The fight for control of Damascus is being wagedlargely in its suburbs, where rebel forces say the casualty count has increased in recent days. And so has talk of a turning point in Syria's 21-month civil war.
Friday's fighting left 43dead in Damascus and its suburbs, including a child who was killed by a mortar and another by a sniper, the opposition Local Coordination Committees reports.
Al-Ghouta Shield Brigade, part of the rebel Free Syrian Army, called the land around the Damascus International Airport a "military zone," urging all airlines to cease incoming and outgoing flights for passengers' safety.
Opposition fighters are waging "ongoing military operations" there because Syrian forces "get military supplies and reinforcements" through the airport, FSA spokesman Louai Miqdad said. He insisted "the FSA will never target" the airport because it a civilian facility that serves the entire country.