Syrian government forces pounded Aleppo with warplanes and artillery shelling yesterday as ground forces seeking to regain momentum advanced on three neighbourhoods.
The new fighting came as Russia soundly rejected US calls for increased pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish power.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met US envoy Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders in Vladivostok and told her that Moscow is absolutely opposed to US-backed penalties against the Assad government, in addition to new ones against Iran over its nuclear programmes.
And Syria lashed out at France for backing the rebels, saying that Paris's growing support for the opposition does nothing but undermine the mission of new UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to broker a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi accused France of suffering from "schizophrenia" in its approach to the country's conflict.
"On the one hand, it supports Brahimi's mission, while at the same time it makes statements demonstrating that it supports the militarisation of the crisis in Syria," he said.
Meanwhile, government forces also advanced in the Aleppo neighbourhoods of Salaheddine, Seif el-Dawleh and Izaa after rebels retreated from the areas under heavy shelling.
They also regained control of one of their largest posts in Aleppo after pushing rebels out of a section they had seized late on Friday.
A major water pipeline in the city was damaged during the fighting yesterday, leaving several neighbourhoods without drinking water.