As Muslims the world over geared up for Eid, the celebrations marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Syrians faced another daily cycle of bloodshed on Saturday.
Local Coordination Committees said that the number of people killed by the Syrian regime forces rose to 160 in Damascus and its suburbs.
40 deaths were discovered in Tal area, 29 in Deir al-Zour, 27 in Daraa; most of them in Hirak town; 26 in Aleppo; 8 in Homs, 5 in Idlib, 1 in Lattakia, and 1 in Hassakeh
The military launched new air strikes on Aazaz in the northern province of Aleppo, three days after about 40 people were killed in the rebel-held town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It also pounded areas of Aleppo as fighting raged between rebels and troops in the northern commercial hub which has become the focus of the conflict, partly because of its strategic location near the Turkish border.
In Damascus, fighting broke out in the heavily populated southern district of Tadamun, showing the rebels are still resisting despite government forces last month claiming they had retaken the capital.
Rebels also targeted a military convoy besieging the neighboring Al-Hajar Al-Aswad district near the country's biggest Palestinian refugee camp, killing at least four soldiers and one rebel, the Observatory said.
It reported at least 99 deaths Saturday, including 12 rebels and five civilians killed in army shelling and fighting in Herak in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising.
And in a gruesome sign of the escalating brutality, the Observatory said dozens of bodies had been found dumped in several areas of Damascus province.
Accounts of people being shot dead by snipers or being executed are increasing, while government forces also appear to be resorting to more attacks from the air against the poorly armed and disparate rebel groups.
Overall the death toll has surged to at least 23,000 people, while the U.N. puts the toll at 17,000.
But the regime's far superior force has failed to suppress the rebellion -- whose fighters' determination to bring Assad down has only grown with the passing of time.
The intensified fighting has sent thousands more Syrians fleeing into neighboring countries, particularly Turkey. The U.N. says that at least 170,000 have fled and another 2.5 million inside Syria need aid.
"This Eid, I don't want to celebrate," said Omar Shakir, a 21-year-old who escaped from the central city of Homs to Lebanon during the regime's relentless month-long onslaught in February on the then rebel-held district of Baba Amr.
"This Eid only serves a reminder for us that we are far from our families. There is nothing festive about it."
In a sign of a renewed effort to try to end the conflict, the United Nations announced on Friday the appointment of Brahimi as new Syria envoy.
But asked whether he was confident the civil war could be ended, Brahimi told France 24: "No, I'm not. What I am confident of is that I am going to try my utmost, my very, very best."
Brahimi's appointment won the backing of the United States as well as China and Russia, which have both vetoed Security Council resolutions on Syria and accused the West of hampering efforts to end the crisis.
Iran, Syria's closest ally, described the conflict as a struggle between Tehran and its arch-foe Washington, a statement that underscores Ban's stated fears it was becoming a "proxy war" between rival regional and international powers.
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