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Omar Hamza said via Skype that three people were killed early Sunday by shells and machine-gun rounds fired at Douma. The government was raiding other areas looking for activists, he said.

The Observatory also reported three killed in suburbs east of the capital, one of them a rebel commander.

Activist claims could not be independently verified.

The Syrian government did not comment on the reports and bars most media from working in the country.

Also Sunday, two Turkish journalists who had been detained in Syria for two months arrived in Istanbul on a plane from Iran after that country helped negotiate their release by Syrian authorities.

Journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun were abducted by militiamen who had blocked a road and were stopping cars and abducting passengers, Mr. Ozkose told reporters in Istanbul on Sunday.

He and Mr. Coskun later were held separately at a prison in Damascus, where they slept on a concrete floor, had no sunlight and lost track of the days.

“Finding out what day it was made me happy. It made me appreciate freedom. Thank God we were saved, but there are many others inside Syria waiting for freedom,” he said.