Rebel forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s government announced a new offensive in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Thursday.
Amateur video uploaded to the Internet purportedly shows fierce gun battles between the two sides.
The fighting has seen parts of the city, which is the country’s commercial hub, reduced to ruins. Activists report that the ancient covered market was set on fire, following heavy shelling and gunfire on Friday. The souk is part of a UNESCO world heritage site.
As the violence escalates throughout the country, Syrian television has aired footage of government soldiers for the first time. More than 30,000 people have been killed since the uprising began, according to human rights groups.