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Intense clashes also continued in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists around the county. It said regime forces tried to storm the northern neighborhoods of Achrafieh and Bani Zeid after heavy shelling with mortar rounds and tanks but failed to advance after facing resistance from rebels.
The city has been witnessing some of the worst violence in months in recent days.
The Observatory also reported air raids and shelling of Jobar, a key district on the edge of Damascus.
Rebels, who are outgunned by Assad's Hezbollah-backed army, have been urging the world to send sophisticated arms, particularly anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry. The West, particularly the U.S., had been reluctant to arm the rebels, in part because of concerns the weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic militants with ties to al-Qaida.
The situation changed in recent months and alarm was raised after government forces with Hezbollah's help captured the strategic town of Qusair near the Lebanese border. On Friday, Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said his militants would keep fighting in Syria "wherever needed."
U.S. officials said the administration could provide the rebels with a range of weapons, including small arms, ammunition, assault rifles and a variety of anti-tank weaponry such as shoulder-fired remote-propelled grenades and other missiles.
Meanwhile, Syria's main opposition group called on Iran's new president-elect Hasan Rowhani to end his country's strong alliance with Assad, saying he should "know the mistakes of the Iranian leadership and change his country's stance before it's too late." The Syrian National Coalition said Iranian authorities have backed "Assad's criminal regime with all political, military and economic means."