Fierce fighting in Aleppo left a UNESCO World Heritage Site in tatters as world leaders left the UN General Assembly meeting no closer to a resolution for the 19-month conflict.
The Free Syrian Army launched the offensive yesterday afternoon, opening up multiple fronts against the government throughout Aleppo in a bid to end a two-month stalemate.
Battles around Damascus have important implications for Syria's conflict, but Aleppo is likely to remain the central focus until either the rebels or government forces can sustain the upper hand.
Rebels said the explosions, felt throughout Damascus, hit Syria's military headquarters and caused dozens of casualties. But a regime spokesman claimed there was only 'material damage.'
UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi told diplomats in New York that the situation in Syria is dire, and described the conflict's particularly heavy toll on children.
Lebanese living along the Syrian border are reporting rashes and other ailments. They suspect Syrian biological weapons are to blame, although weapons experts say that is unlikely.
Iran confirmed on Sunday what has long been suspected: It is providing assistance to the Syrian government in its war against an uprising. Iran's Qods Force is also operating in Lebanon.
Free Syrian Army fighters told the Monitor that bringing down President Assad trumps family ties, and that they are willing to fight, or even kill, brothers and cousins fighting for the regime.
The territory between the northern city of Aleppo and the Turkish border is firmly under rebel control, but aerial attacks from the Syrian Army leave residents far from safe.
The aid to five rebel-held cities in northern Syria aims to repair vital infrastructure such as water supplies. But rebels say the assistance has barely made a dent in their needs.
In a blow to rebels, Syrian troops recaptured a border town used by refugees to cross into Jordan, according to activists.