31 July 2012
Last updated at 03:26 ET
There have been fresh reports of clashes and attacks by helicopter gunships in Aleppo as the Syrian army offensive enters its fourth day.
Activists say at least 25 people died on Monday, while thousands of refugees are continuing to flee the fighting.
State TV made no mention of events in Aleppo focusing instead on what it said were government successes in Homs.
Meanwhile the US and Turkey have agreed to step up efforts to achieve “political transition” in Syria.
This would include the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said.
According to Syrian news outlets on Monday, army troops had won complete control over Salah al-Din, one of the areas of Aleppo where rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army had become entrenched.
Analysts say Salah al-Din provides an important route for Syrian troop reinforcements coming from the south.
But activists and rebel commanders denied that government forces had gained ground there.
Rebel fighters are outgunned by Syrian government forces but do have some anti-aircraft weapons
They report renewed heavy shelling and helicopter gunship attacks there and in other rebel-held areas on Tuesday, especially around the Sakhour quarter on the north-east side of Aleppo.
Violent clashes have also taken place near the Air Force Intelligence headquarters to the west of the city, they say.
State television completely ignored events in Aleppo in its main morning news programmes on Tuesday, the BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says.
Instead, it broadcast a detailed report from Homs where it said the quarter of Qarabis, which has long been held by rebel fighters, had finally fallen to government forces.
Correspondents say Aleppo is a vital city that neither side can afford to lose.
Supplies are reported to be running out in certain areas and those citizens remaining in the city face long queues for bread.
In a phone call on Monday, US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to help the growing numbers of refugees – both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.
Turkey has been a staunch critic of President Assad and has given refuge to large numbers of army defectors.
Thousands of Syrian refugees are also living in refugee camps on the Turkish side of the countries’ long border.
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Where Syrians are fleeing
Turkey: 43,387 Anxious Turks wait for endgame
Jordan: 36,824 Jordan’s desert refugee camp
Lebanon: 31,596 Defiance at Lebanon frontier
Iraq: 8,445 Iraq pressurised by tribal ties
Internally displaced: One million
Those arriving from Aleppo in recent days have spoken of incessant shelling.
As the crisis deepened, Iran – a close ally of Damascus – warned Turkey not to intervene militarily, the Syrian state-controlled al-Watan newspaper said.
“Any attack on Syrian territory will meet with a harsh response, and the Iranian-Syrian mutual defence agreement will be activated,” it reported on Monday.
The newspaper said Turkey and the US were planning to create “a safe haven guarded by the armed gangs” in the north of Syria.
“Turkey has received very strong warnings in the past few hours and the following message – beware changing the rules of the game,” al-Watan said.
Turkey has said it will use troops if necessary to prevent another Halabja – a reference to a notorious massacre in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Greek officials were due to reveal further details of new border security plans on Tuesday, aimed at stopping Syrian refugees crossing from Turkey.
On Monday, Greece – one of the busiest entry points for illegal immigrants entering the EU – said it was quadrupling the number of guards along its border with Turkey.
In New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon repeated that he was particularly concerned by the continued use of heavy weapons by Syrian government forces.
He also called on the Syrian government to renounce the possibility of using chemical weapons under any circumstances, and to secure its stockpiles.
Damascus has implicitly acknowledged its possession of chemical weapons but said it would not use them against its own people, only against foreign invaders.
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