(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Damascus has turned into one of the major flashpoints in the civil war between the Syrian government and rebel forces.
According to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 50 civilians died in the capital and its surrounding areas on Thursday, with more than 100 deaths reported overall in the country including 20 government troops.
Much of the carnage occurred in Daraya located on the outskirts of Damascus where Syrian soldiers were reportedly conducting door-to-door raids to ferret out rebel fighters.
Battles have also intensified in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, which has been under siege for more than a month.
According to a report by Amnesty International, most of the fatalities in Aleppo are civilians, including many children. The group blamed the military for launching indiscriminate artillery strikes that have no regard for who might become casualties.
The nearly 18-month-long conflict has cost an estimated 21,000 to 23,000 lives.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN