Syria civil war
Smoke rises from Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district after shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. - Reuters

Syrian forces' amassing of artillery and helicopters in the country's two most important cities, Damascus and Aleppo, has further escalated the violence as the rebels are struggling to fight against Assad's might.

Apart from Syrian troops and rebels, scores of civilians have been killed. President Bashar al-Assad's forces bombarded both capital Damascus and Aleppo in one of the bloodiest battles in recent days.

While the claim of the anti-regime activists on civilian casualties cannot be independently verified, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights substantiates the death toll.

"Artillery is firing from Qasioun Mountain in regular bursts of heavy barrages. I wonder what is left of the town," a witness from the capital told Reuters.

In an attempt to wipe out the rebels, Syrian forces are reported to be using huge bombs. Once a region is bombed, Assad's forces reportedly move in to slaughter the remaining people.

Syrian forces are also undertaking house-to-house raids in certain regions. Thousands of civilians continue to flee the country to seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, but those who stay behind do not have many options.

"Where are we to go? Yesterday they hit the rebel base across the road, but nowhere is safe in Aleppo. The planes bomb everywhere. If there is a safe place in Syria, tell me. We don't have the money to leave the country," a 53-year-old carpenter told a Reuters reporter.

While the Syrian army has almost recaptured Damascus and Aleppo from the opposition groups, the rebels have managed to crawl into the neighbourhoods from where they resort to sporadic firing.

The snowballing civilian crisis has been highlighted by Amnesty International in a first-hand report. The 11-page report says civilians have been badly affected by the fighting.

"The use of imprecise weapons, such as unguided bombs, artillery shells and mortars by government forces has dramatically increased the danger for civilians," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Adviser. Rovera had recently returned from Aleppo.

The violence was monitored over ten days during the first half of August. Amnesty says the attacks were most often randomly directed killing dozens of civilians.

Meanwhile, France has called for a partial no-fly zone over Syria in a bid to armtwist Assad's regime.

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