Clashes broke out in Syria's main cities of Damascus and Aleppo on Saturday, following a bloody day in which 132 people were killed nationwide, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In the northern city of Aleppo the army battled with rebels at the entrances to the rebel-held Bustan al-Basha district and helicopter gunships attacked the opposition bastions of Hanano and Sakhur, the monitoring group said.
After a week of fighting over the central district of Midan, the army had taken most of the area and set up checkpoints for the first time, an AFP correspondent said.
But rebels held their positions in parts of Midan near Bustan al-Basha to the north and Arkoub to the east.
Residents of Midan had blocked off a contested street with tires and posted a small sign which read: "Beware of snipers".
At least one rebel was killed in fighting in the northern city, which has been the focal point of the Syrian conflict since mid-July, according to the Britain-based Observatory.
Regime forces also carried out air strikes against a rebel-held police department in Hanano for the second day in a row, after similar attacks on two police branches in Midan on Friday.
Near the capital, five rebels -- including a Palestinian defector from the Syrian army -- were killed by shelling and sniper fire in the southern suburb of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad where regime forces deployed in force, the Observatory said.
Clashes meanwhile broke out at the entrance of the Damascus suburb, the watchdog said, while a civilian was killed elsewhere in the province.
In the southern province of Daraa, fierce clashes broke out between rebel fighters and government troops as the army tried to retake the Lajat area -- considered the most important rebel stronghold in the province.
On Saturday, 100 civilians, 13 rebels and 19 soldiers were killed nationwide in Syria, the Observatory said, noting that the largest single toll was in Daraa, where 12 civilians were killed in an air strike.
The Daily Star