Government forces shelled the southern outskirts of Syria's capital Friday (September 7th) as troops stormed nearby towns and clashed with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, AFP reported.
Witnesses told AFP that the city's southern suburb of Tadamun and the neighbouring Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk came under heavy shellfire.
On the southeast outskirts of Damascus, hundreds of government troops backed by armour stormed the town of Babila, where FSA fighters were entrenched, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A raid by security forces on al-Qazzaz district of southeast Damascus sparked clashes with opposition fighters, the Observatory added.
Meanwhile, a motorcycle bomb exploded as worshippers left a mosque after Friday prayers in northern Damascus, killing five members of the security forces and injuring several other people, Syrian state television said.
"A terrorist attack carried out with a motorcycle loaded with explosives struck the exit of Rukniyeh mosque as worshippers were making their way out," the broadcaster said.
Elsewhere, two children were killed when Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border was shelled, while in the northwest province of Idlib, scores of homes were destroyed by shelling.
In the central province of Homs, a child was killed in an air strike on rebel-held Rastan and three civilians were killed in the town of Talbisseh.
At least 23 people, most of them opposition fighters, were killed nationwide on Friday, according to an initial toll by the Observatory, which obtains its information from activists, doctors and other sources on the ground.
Residents of Zamalka and Qatana in the outskirts of Damascus reportedly recovered 45 bodies, including those of women and children, the monitoring group said.
Zamalka has been a hotbed of anti-government protests, sparking repeated raids and clashes.
Opposition activists blamed pro-government forces for the Zamalka killings, accusing the Assad regime of a "new massacre".
On Friday, the bodies of 16 men were found in Harasta, also in Damascus province, some bearing signs of torture, the Observatory said.
A total of at least 153 people were killed nationwide on Thursday -- 83 civilians, 24 rebels and 46 soldiers, according to the monitoring group.
The conflict has claimed more than 26,000 lives since it erupted in mid-March 2011, according to Observatory estimates.