DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Syrian government troops battled rebels in the Damascus area Thursday, reportedly killing dozens of people, opposition activists said.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission said the attacks killed 43 in Damascus suburbs, including 24 "executed in front of their families" in Kfar Sousseh, the British publication The Guardian reported.
The commission said six people were killed by "summary execution" in Nahr Aisha. The opposition group said three died from a car bombing in Dumma, shelling killed three people in each of Harasta and Darayya, while activists in Jobar, Arbeen and Zamalka reported one death in each of the cities.
The New York Times reported government troops, backed by tanks, also went house to house in Daraya, killing 15 people as reported by the Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition organizations.
By late Thursday morning, the LCC said 73 people died, mainly in Damascus suburbs.
The Times said death tolls provided by opposition activists could not be independently verified.
On Wednesday, opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime said a military offensive was expanding in neighborhoods where rebels are strong and the government is perceived as weak, the Times reported. Rebels battled with government forces in the Saif al-Dawla district in Aleppo Wednesday.
Amnesty International, in a report released Thursday, said Aleppo residents bore the worst of the fighting.
"Civilians are enduring a horrific level of violence in the battle between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters for control of Aleppo," the human rights organization said in its summary of its report.
"The use of imprecise weapons, such as unguided bombs, artillery shells and mortars by government forces, has dramatically increased the danger for civilians," Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior crisis response adviser, said.
Syria's state-run news agency reported Thursday government forces swept neighborhoods of Aleppo and Homs for "terrorists," the term government officials use for rebels. Similar raids have been reported in several Damascus suburbs.
Analysts said the government incursions into rebel-controlled areas draws attention to challenge Assad faces as he tries to crush an elusive insurgency, the Times said.
"Terror is the basic approach," Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Center for the Middle East, told the Times. "From the beginning of the uprising, the [government] logic was hit and hit hard, punish and scare, and that would be the way to do it. It's a crazy logic, and it has not served them well."