A Syrian woman, who fled her home due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, holds her child, while she and others take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, near the Syrian town of Azaz, Thursday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Troops, tanks and helicopters swept into a restive town of Daraya near Damascus on Thursday in an assault aimed at crushing opposition to President Bashar Al Assad.

In Aleppo, troops wrested control of three key Christian neighbourhoods from rebel control, according to actvists. More than 120 people were reported killed yesterday across Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Meanwhile, an Iraqi army general speaking on condition of annonymity confirmed that Syrian military planes had crossed into its airspace to attack the border town of Albu Kamal.

In a report released on Thursday, Amnesty International said that government air and artillery strikes were killing children in their homes. It noted a sharp increase in indiscriminate attacks and also highlighted the emerging problem of food scarcity saying that Syrians were queueing at bakeries to stock up on bread.

In Ankara, Turkish and US officials began their first “operational planning” meeting aimed at bringing about the end to the Syrian regime. The meeting is expected to coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the crisis in Syria where a deadly crackdown on peaceful protests that began in March 2011 has according to activists claimed more than 23,000 lives. The officials are also due to discuss contingency plans in the case of potential threats including a chemical attack by Al Assad’s regime which Washington has said would be a “red line”.

Turkish foreign ministry deputy under-secretary Halit Cevik and US ambassador Elisabeth Jones are leading the delegations made up of intelligence agents, military officials and diplomats at the Ankara meeting, according to a foreign ministry source.