A father walks with his children through the rubble after a war plane bombed the Salahadin neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 1, 2012. Few civilians remain in the district and those who stay face heavy shelling from tanks, fighter jets, helicopters and rockets.
Credit: Nicole Tung

Syrian government forces today stepped up their offensive on the country's largest city of Aleppo, where violence has escalated as rebels fight to retain control of parts of the strategic city, reported CNN

Meanwhile, the country's embattled leader, Bashar al-Assad, showed up on state television today with ally Iran in his first TV appearance in weeks, perhaps an attempt to shore up his image a day after the regime suffered a major defection with the loss of Prime Minister Riad Hijab. 

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Rebels are no match for Assad's jets

Syrian opposition activists told CNN today that government forces continue to shell Aleppo in an effort to retake the city, with the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria saying 100 Syrians have been killed so far today. 

The deaths in Syria continue to mount as the crisis there reaches fever pitch, with activists saying some 20,000 people have died in the 17-month-long fight between government forces and rebels trying to overthrow Assad's regime. 

Euronews today cited reports indicating "that the Free Syrian army is battle fatigued, outnumbered and running low on ammunition" as the battle for control of Aleppo intensifies. 

Syrian state television today said regime forces were targeting what it called terror groups operating in the city, said CNN, including an alleged field execution today of 10 prisoners. 

The United Nations on Monday recalled its 20 unarmed observers from Aleppo and relocated them to Damascus, reported Agence France-Press, citing UN peacekeeping spokesperson Josephine Guerrero as saying the decision is "temporary" due to "the deteriorating security" situation in the country's biggest metropolis.  

The UN monitors were sent to the country as part of a now-failed peace plan put forth by the now-resigned Syria international peace envoy Kofi Annan, troubled efforts that match a broader lack of cooperation and commitment by the international community in addressing the crisis in Syria.

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