Syrian Forces Bombard Battered North, Raid Townإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syrian forces pounded the northern battleground of Aleppo and two neighboring towns on Tuesday as violence claimed the lives of around 15 people including women and children, activists said.
Troops also stormed a town near Damascus, torching homes and shops, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, while another activist group reported shelling and attacks from the air by regime forces in and around the capital.
Video footage issued by activists showed a huge cloud of thick black smoke rising from the town of Marea, which lies between Aleppo and the Turkish border, after reporting heavy shelling there.
Activists said warplanes were in also action, firing on areas in and around Aleppo, Syria's second city and commercial capital that has emerged as the epicenter of the rebellion, as well as suburbs of Damascus.
"The army bombarded rebel weapons stocks in the Aleppo region to prevent the arms from reaching them (in the city)," a Syrian security official said. "Reinforcements from both sides are heading to Aleppo. It is a war that will last a long time."
One child and a man were killed in Marea, the Observatory said.
People were out in the streets there and shops were open but on the outskirts of town, mourners led a funeral procession for a man they said was killed when a fighter jet fired on his home, an Agence France Presse correspondent said.
"To paradise we're going, martyrs in our millions," the mourners chanted as the body was carried on a makeshift stretcher wrapped in a blanket, his waxen face left uncovered.
Another nine people, including two women, along with a boy aged nine and girl of five, were killed in shelling in several neighborhoods of Aleppo, the Observatory said.
Aleppo has borne the brunt of the conflict since fighting erupted there a month ago, with the regime warning it would be the scene of the "mother of all battles."
The violence followed a bloody day in which 167 people were killed across Syria, the Observatory said.
The bodies of 12 unidentified people were also found in the eastern Damascus neighborhood of Qaboon, among them two children.
The Local Coordination Committees -- a network of opposition activists on the ground -- reported heavy shelling before dawn from tanks stationed at a checkpoint in Jdaidet Artuz, southwest of the capital.
The LCC also said warplanes were flying overhead using mounted machineguns to strafe the southern Damascus suburbs of al-Hajar al-Aswad and Babila, and fighter jets were also spotted over the Assali neighborhood.
Syria's popular uprising, which began in March 2011, has spiraled into an armed conflict with more than 23,000 people killed, according to the Observatory. The United Nations puts the death toll at 17,000.
It is impossible to verify the figures.