Syrian troops backed by helicopters and tanks have struck back in Damascus against rebel fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle.
Syrian troops and armoured vehicles have pushed into a rebel-held district of Aleppo and struck back in the capital, Damascus, against fighters emboldened by a bomb attack that killed top officials of President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Opposition activists in Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and a northern commercial hub, said that hundreds of families were fleeing residential areas on Saturday after the military swept into the Salaheddine district, which had been in rebel hands for two days.
Fighting was also reported in the densely-populated, poor neighbourhood of al-Sakhour.
"The sound of bombardment has been non-stop since last night. For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a
battle zone," a housewife, who declined to be named, said by phone from the city.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting started spreading on Saturday afternoon.
"Violent clashes are taking place between Syrian regime forces and rebel fighters in the Sakhour neighbourhood and the Haydariya area," the UK-based group said.
The Observatory also reported heavy clashes at the entrance of al-Rastan, a rebel stronghold in Homs province, saying troops were trying to enter the town.
There were also reports of renewed clashes in two districts of the Syrian capital.
In the central city of Homs, at least two people were killed in a prison mutiny, opposition activists said.
They said some guards had joined in the mutiny, which broke out shortly after midnight, but that government forces from a nearby intelligence base had arrived to crush the rebellion.
Some activists said that two prisoners were killed, while others put the death toll at four and said the mutiny was continuing, although the prison was surrounded.
Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday that an envoy will be dispatched to Syria to assess the situation as violence increases in the embattled country, adding that Assad's government must stop "the killing and the use of heavy weapons" against population centres.