July 26th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Battles for key cities of Aleppo, Damascus heat up in Syrian civil war

Undeterred by a wave of casualties, Syrian rebels say they will not back down in their quest to seize Aleppo, the country's commercial hub and a crucial city in the Syrian civil war.

After six days of fighting, the seesaw battle with government forces raged again Thursday as helicopter gunships flew over the city, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At least one rebel fighter was killed, the group said.

The seat of President Bashar al-Assad's power also saw renewed violence Thursday as explosions rocked several Damascus neighborhoods, another opposition group said.

Regime and rebel forces battled in several Damascus neighborhoods, and the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk endured "fierce helicopter shelling with machine guns," the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.

The LCC also reported dozens of dead and wounded in shelling by regime forces in Yalda, in the Damascus suburbs, and in bomb attacks in the Mashtal district of the capital.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • World