ALEPPO- Syrian troops and rebels fought fierce battles on Friday in Aleppo, where several people died when a shell crashed into a bakery as hundreds queued for bread, AFP correspondents said.

They said around a dozen people were killed and 20 wounded at the bakery in the increasingly desperate city. At least three children were among the dead in the eastern Tariq al-Bab district of Syria’s commercial capital.

And troops repelled a rebel attack on Aleppo’s international airport, state news agency SANA reported. Rebels vowed to fight on in Aleppo, a day after being driven out of a key district under heavy shellfire.

The violence raged on as world powers prepared to name veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as their new envoy to seek a peaceful and politically workable end to a 17-month uprising that has cost more than 21,000 lives. In a statement released by The Elders, a group of world statesmen, Brahimi said “the UNSCl and regional states must unite to ensure that a political transition can take place as soon as possible.”

The army again bombed parts of Salaheddin, as well as the Sakhur and Hanano districts in the northeast, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that five civilians were among 60 people killed nationwide.

Before dawn, a MiG 21 fighter jet dropped four bombs on rebel positions in Hanano. One struck the courtyard of the FSA headquarters in the area and another a nearby house, wounding a number of people.

Britain said on Friday it would give the rebels 5 million pounds in non-lethal assistance, including body armour and communications equipment.

“The people of Syria cannot wait indefinitely, people are dying. In the absence of diplomatic progress the UK will do much more,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Adding to the pressure on the regime on the international front, the US State department and US Treasury unveiled fresh measures on Assad’s regime and its supporters.

The sanctions came with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set to fly to Istanbul for further talks on the Syrian crisis, with Washington focused on supporting the Syrian opposition seeking to topple Assad.

In the first measure announced, the treasury denounced the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah for backing Assad and added it to a list of organisations under sanctions for their ties to the regime.

“This action highlights Hezbollah’s activities within Syria and its integral role in the continued violence the Assad regime is inflicting on the Syrian population,” the treasury said.

Washington already classes Hezbollah a “terrorist organisation” and it is under US sanctions, but Friday’s move explicitly ties the group to the violence in Syria, where Assad is attempting to put down a revolt.

Also on Friday, the State Department slapped sanctions on Syria’s state oil company Sytrol for trading with Iran, under measures designed to starve both Assad and Tehran of much-needed revenue.

“This kind of trade allows Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian government with resources to oppress its own people,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

In addition to new sanctions, Clinton is expected to announce on Saturday in Istanbul an additional $5.5m in humanitarian assistance.

Rebels on Friday captured three journalists who work for state television as they accompanied govt troops operating near Damascus, the Syrian Observatory reported.

“Three Syrian journalists who work for state television were seized by rebels while they were on assignment, accompanying soldiers in Al-Tal,” just north of Damascus, the monitoring group said.