TEL RIFAT, Syria (AP) — Activists say Syrian government forces have been pounding the city of Aleppo with airstrikes and tanks, and shelling parts of Damascus and southern Syria today, killing at least 100 people during a major Muslim holiday.
The violence escalated dramatically after a one-day lull yesterday, the start of the three-day holiday.
Most of the deaths today were a result of tank and mortar shelling as well as clashes in two Damascus suburbs, where some activists reported that the regime used helicopter gunships.
One activist says about 30 troops along with a tank defected to the rebels' side in one of the suburbs yesterday -- which may have been the reason for the shelling.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been the scene of daily battles for several weeks, with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad trying to take control from the rebels, but not making much headway.
119-c-13-(Hamza Hendawi (HAHM'-zuh hehn-DAH'-wee), AP correspondent)-"to two weeks"-AP correspondent Hamza Hendawi reports violence between rebels and Syrian regime forces is continuing in various parts of the country. (20 Aug 2012)
<<CUT *119 (08/20/12)>> 00:13 "to two weeks"
118-c-14-(Hamza Hendawi (HAHM'-zuh hehn-DAH'-wee), AP correspondent)-"eighteen months ago"-AP correspondent Hamza Hendawi reports intense fighting continues in a southern city in Syria, according to rights group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (20 Aug 2012)
<<CUT *118 (08/20/12)>> 00:14 "eighteen months ago"
APPHOTO BH102: Syrians Bassem Kharfani, left, and Mahmoud Jikar sit at the door of Jikar's house, one of more than a dozen homes destroyed in a Syrian government bombing last week that killed more than 40 people, in Azaz, Syria, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Hubbard) (20 Aug 2012)
<<APPHOTO BH102 (08/20/12)>>