Firefights raged between government and rebel troops in Aleppo today after a blaze ripped through the city's medieval market.
Aleppo's "souk" had been one of the Middle East's best-preserved bazaars, with the old city a Unesco world heritage site.
Unesco said the weekend's events were a "tragedy."
Saturday's inferno destroyed hundreds of shops. It wasn't clear who set the fire but local traders complained that they had repeatedly asked the government for protection from rebels but had received no response.
Local Chamber of Industry chief Fares al-Shihabi said it had been forced to hire private guards to defend businesses from armed looters.
Some reports suggested Free Syrian Army (FSA) troops had set up camp in a Turkish bathhouse in the district, prompting a government assault.
In the south-western Salaheddin area, rebels attacked army positions and claimed to have made "advances."
But Abu Furat, an officer in the rebel al-Tahwid brigade, said it was unlikely that insurgents would win in Aleppo as "to win a guerilla street war you have to have bombs and we don't."
Rebels insisted today that they were in the third day of a "decisive battle" to control the city - the country's largest - but the FSA has repeatedly made that claim since it launched an offensive in the city in July.
Locals said there was little sign that either the rebels or the government had made any breakthroughs.
The country's civil war claimed at least another four victims today as a suicide bomber struck in Qamishli, 435 miles from Damascus.
Rebels claimed the attack had killed eight, a figure which officials disputed, and that it had targeted a police station, which couldn't be confirmed.