A motorcycle bomb attack in Damascus killed five members of the regime's security forces yesterday as government forces launched an assault on a rebel-held town outside the capital.
In a second attack, a car bomb caused damage near the courthouse in the city but no casualties were reported in this blast.
The explosion near a mosque in the northern neighbourhood of Rokn Eddin killed five and injured several others, state media reported, adding that the blast was a "terrorist attack".
Witnesses said that the capital's southern suburb of Tadamun and the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk came under shellfire.
"At least 10 people have been killed and 15 wounded since they resumed shelling," a witness said. "There are several burned corpses and limbs, so no one is sure of the total death toll."
On the south-east outskirts of Damascus, hundreds of government troops stormed the town of Babila, where Free Syrian Army rebels were entrenched, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It also reported rebel and civilian casualties in the Al Qazzaz district of Damascus, Aleppo, Albu Kamal, Rastan and Talbisseh.
At least 61 people, most of them civilians, were killed nationwide yesterday, according to the observatory.
In another grisly find of the almost 18-month conflict, residents recovered 45 bodies in two towns on the outskirts of Damascus, the group said.
It said at least 23 bodies, including those of women and children, were found in the eastern suburb of Zamalka on Thursday, while another 22 were discovered in Qatana south-east of the capital.
As the crisis worsens, the United Nations said yesterday that about 2.5 million people caught up in the fighting need aid, double the number it estimated in June.
"The situation for the people of Syria people is appalling and getting worse every day," John Ging, the director of operations for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said at a meeting of UN aid agencies in Geneva.
The UN also almost doubled its appeal for funds to purchase food, medicine, sanitation equipment and other supplies to US$350 million (Dh1.3 billion).
The European Commission said it would give a further $63m in assistance.
At the UN General Assembly yesterday, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon took an indirect swipe at Russia as well as Arabian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar for bringing weapons into Syria, a move that is "only contributing to further misery".
The UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will hold talks with Arab League leaders in Cairo tomorrow and wants to visit Damascus in the days after, his spokesman said. The talks at the league headquarters will be his first official trip to the region since taking over from Kofi Annan as the envoy on the conflict.
* Agence France-Presse, with additional reporting by Reuters and Bloomberg News