BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces attacked rebel-held areas on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus with rockets and shellfire on Saturday and killed at least nine people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

A Reuters witness heard the sounds of heavy bombardment coming from the area.

The British-based Observatory said the government forces' assault was around the Qaboun and Barzeh districts.

(Reporting by John Davison; Additional reporting by Kinda Makieh in Damascus; Editing by Adrian Croft)