The fighting has been ferocious yet the battle for Damascus is far from over.
Syrian government forces pounded parts of the capital overnight, to flush out rebels and reverse opposition gains made over the last few days.
State media says the army has retaken full control of key areas and is getting the upper hand.
Elsewhere, a second day of fierce clashes is reported in Syria’s second city of Aleppo.
Many see the conflict entering a decisive phase in the wake of Wednesday’s bomb attack that killed four senior members of President Assad’s regime.
He failed to attend their funerals.
Activists say Syria has seen its bloodiest two days since the start of the uprising against Assad’s rule.
A day after Russia and China again vetoed a UN resolution on Syria, the Security Council
extended its observer mission by a further 30 days.
Yet monitors’ patrols remain suspended because of the violence.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon is sending a top peacekeeping envoy to Syria to assess the situation.