The U.N. children's fund and activists are reporting a sharp spike in the death toll in Syria.
Two activist groups say about 5,000 people were killed in Syria in August, making it the deadliest month since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began more than 17 months ago. Meanwhile, UNICEF says at least 1,600 people were killed last week.
The civil war took a major turn in August when Assad's forces began widely using air power to crush the revolt. The fighting also reached Syria's largest city, Aleppo, which had been relatively quiet.
While the military largely has been able to quell the offensive rebels launched in Damascus in July, it is still struggling to stamp out a rebel push Aleppo. Today, activists say the military has been pounding rebel holdouts in the country's commercial capital. They also report fighting in central city of Homs, Idlib province on the border with Turkey and suburbs near Damascus.
Meanwhile, two bombs exploded near the Syrian military's joint chiefs of staff offices in central Damascus. Four army officers were wounded, though the injuries are described as minor.