Aleppo: Fighting raged in Syria's second city Aleppo this afternoon, a watchdog said, as regime forces shelled a village in Damascus province, killing five children.
A security source told a news agency that  troops were preparing to launch an all-out offensive on rebel-held districts of Aleppo.     

Intermittent clashes were reported in the Damascus district of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, with the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog saying at least seven people were killed there on Thursday.
Regime forces pounded the southern Salaheddin and eastern Jazamati districts of Aleppo, the country's commercial hub, the Observatory said.
Across Syria, at least 50 people were killed today, most of them civilians, according to the group.
Regime forces shelled the village of Yalda, just south of the capital Damascus, killing 16 civilians, among them five children and four women, the Observatory said.
"The villagers are terrified," the Syrian Revolution General Commission said in a statement, adding that "there are difficulties helping the wounded. Some houses collapsed with people still inside them."
The violence came as rebels and troops prepared for a major battle in Aleppo.
"The special forces were deployed Wednesday and Thursday on the edges of the city, and more troops have arrived to take part in a generalised counter-offensive on Friday or Saturday," a security source said.
Rebels also said a regime assault appeared imminent.
"We expect a major offensive at any time, specifically on areas across the southern belt, from east to west," Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, told.
Syrian newspaper Al-Watan, which is close to the regime, led Thursday with the headline "Aleppo, the mother of all battles."


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