At least 20 people were killed across Syria on Saturday (July 21st) as clashes between government troops and opposition fighters continued for a second day in Aleppo, activists told AFP.
At least 12 civilians were among the dead as clashes rocked both of the country's largest cities, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In Damascus seven civilians were killed, most of them by sniper fire, the human rights group said. It had no immediate casualty toll for the fierce clashes between troops and rebels in Aleppo.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in Aleppo "battles have been ongoing since Friday morning between regular forces and fighters from rebel units in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood."
"Violent clashes are taking place between Syrian regime forces and rebel fighters in the Sakhur neighbourhood and the Haydariya area," it said, adding troops were "using heavy machine guns and shelling".
The Local Co-ordination Committees reported "an exodus of residents of the (Salah al-Din) neighbourhood because of fear of regime bombardment and an offensive".
In Damascus, a day after regime forces launched a major counter-offensive to re-take areas held by the opposition, residents reported the city was largely calm. The Observatory said the army had bombarded the Al-Kaddam and Assali neighbourhoods on the southern outskirts of the city overnight, and residents reported fighting in the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Tadamon districts.
The Observatory also reported government forces were shelling several districts in Homs, including Khaldiyeh and said fighting was continuing in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.
The Free Syrian Army took control of the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the border with Turkey, Al Jazeera reported Saturday.
The Observatory said Saturday the nationwide death toll from Friday included 233 victims, including 153 civilians, 43 soldiers and 37 rebels.
On Friday the UN Security Council voted unanimously to grant a final 30-day extension to an observer mission charged with overseeing a peace plan for Syria.
The vote came a day after 302 people were killed Thursday in what the Observatory said was the most violent day since the uprising against the government began in March 2011.