The Syrian city of Aleppo was plunged into fresh turmoil yesterday after air raids by regime forces on rebel areas and ground fighting caused numerous deaths and ruptured one of the city's water mains.
Video footage on the internet showed residents carrying the dead and wounded from an apartment block allegedly hit in a raid by a regime helicopter.
The building was in the Masaket Hanano district of central Aleppo, an area that has been fought over on and off for weeks, but now seems largely under control of the rebels.
The use of "barrel bombs" -- oil drums filled with explosive and shrapnel -- is a new tactic, thought to reflect discontent with the accuracy of Syria's conventional jet-launched missiles.
There were also battles in Damascus, in particular continued shelling of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, now identified by the regime as a centre of opposition.
Diplomatic solutions to the conflict seemed no closer following a meeting between Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in the Russian city of Vladivostock.
The US secretary of state, said: "We haven't seen eye-to-eye on Syria. That may continue. And if it does continue then we will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls."
Mr Lavrov said: "Our US partners prefer measures like threats, increased pressure and new sanctions against both Syria and Iran. We do not agree with this in principle."
As they spoke Dubai Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, set off for Cairo on the first leg of a tour that will also take him to Damascus and Iran. (© Daily Telegraph, London)