Beirut - Syrian troops pounded rebels in northern Syria and Damascus province before dawn on Monday, while fierce fighting broke out in Aleppo and the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On the north-eastern outskirts of Damascus, clashes erupted when troops tried to storm the rebel-controlled town of Harasta. On Sunday, at least eight civilians and eight rebels were killed in fighting and shelling there.
In Aleppo, one rebel was killed in the central Midan district at dawn on Monday, while clashes continued through the morning in the southwest rebel district of Salaheddin, Izaa in the north and the Old City in the centre.
An AFP correspondent in Aleppo said the Internet connection in Syria's second city and long-time commercial hub had been restored on Sunday afternoon after being down for a day and a half.
"There was a problem with the main cable between Saraqeb and Maaret al-Numan that carries the Internet from Damascus to Aleppo, but it is fixed now," a technician for state-run ADSL services told AFP.
Maaret al-Numan, a strategic town in the northwest province of Idlib on the Aleppo-Damascus highway, has been the scene of intense fighting since it fell to rebels on 9 October, severing a key army supply route.
On Sunday, the Observatory reported 173 people - 65 civilians, 46 rebels and 62 government troops - killed nationwide. A 12-year-old boy died of his wounds from a cluster bomb in the town of Saraqeb the day before.
Rebels had earlier shown AFP debris from cluster bombs they accused the air force of dropping on residential areas, as well as dozens of others that failed to explode.
Human Rights Watch has accused Syria of using cluster bombs, a charge denied by the military, which insists it does not possess them.
More than 34 000 people have been killed since the revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad broke out in March 2011, according to the watchdog.
Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has appealed to both sides of the conflict to observe a truce during the four-day Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins on Friday.