The Syrian army shelled rebel-held districts of commercial capital Aleppo Sunday as fighting flared anew around a southwestern neighbourhood that rebel fighters had quit last week, a human rights group said. In Aleppo city, the Shaar, Tariq al-Bab, Sakhur, Hanano and Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhoods all came under bombardment, as troops pressed a ground offensive they launched on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. An army colonel was killed in an assault by rebels in the Safira district, according to the Britain-based watchdog. The rights group added that “communications of all forms have been cut off in the city of Aleppo as well as large areas of the province since the morning.” In the capital Damascus, gunfire was reported in the Qadam neighbourhood, while security forces carried out raids and arrests in the Qabr Aatka district. Heavy explosions were heard in the Damascus suburb of Harasta, the Observatory said. Elsewhere in the province, machinegun fire was heard in the town of Al-Tal, where 15 civilians were killed in shelling and clashes on Saturday as troops tried to regain control from rebels. At least 13 people were killed across the country, including six soldiers shot dead in a rebel attack on their convoy in Daraa province south of the capital, cradle of the revolt against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. On Saturday, a total of 148 people were killed across Syria — 85 civilians, 20 rebels and 43 soldiers, the Observatory said.