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 investigators said they have strong evidence of human rights abuses committed by both sides of the conflict in Syria, which has left more than 19,000 people, mostly civilians, dead.
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.
Eleven Syrian nationals were kidnapped in Lebanon Thursday in a spree of abductions, raising concern about renewed violence there.