Syrian warplanes bombed a key road in Damascus Thursday in a bid to halt a rebel advance that threatens President Bashar al-Assad's hold on the capital.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday's fighting was focused on southern parts of the Damascus ring road, as fighting inched closer to the heart of the city.
Separately, the state-run news agency SANA reported what it said were "terrorists" firing mortar shells on a garage in a northern neighborhood, causing several casualties. The government frequently uses the term terrorists to describe rebels seeking to topple the Assad government.
Some of the heaviest fighting in months broke out Wednesday in Damascus, with the rebel Free Syrian Army saying it had launched an operation to "liberate" the city.
The Syrian Observatory said at least five people were killed overnight in a Palestinian refugee camp south of the city. It said more than 170 people died in fighting across the country Wednesday.
The crisis in Syria began in March 2011, and since then the United Nations says more than 60,000 people have died.