DAMASCUS - Syrian troops shelled several districts in Aleppo and clashed with rebels on Tuesday, as Damascus ally Iran proposed a simultaneous halt to the violence and a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Clashes erupted in Bustan al-Qasr in the southwest and in nearby Izaa as both districts were shelled, residents in Syria’s second city said, also reporting fighting further south in Sukari.

Overnight, shelling killed two civilians in the rebel-held Sakhur neighbourhood in the northeast, while nearby Hanano was also bombed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian forces said they had secured the flashpoint Midan district on Monday after a week of fighting, although an AFP correspondent said some parts were still unsafe for residents to return.

Outside Aleppo, two civilians were killed in shelling on the town of Al-Bab and the town of Safira was also reportedly bombed, according to the watchdog.

In Damascus, at least four soldiers and one rebel were killed, as the army tried to push into the southern districts of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Qadam and Assali, and three civilians were killed by shelling, the Observatory said.

Troops also bombed areas in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where 10 civilians were killed, the northwestern province of Idlib and the central province of Homs, where a rebel was killed in fighting, the monitor added.

The Syrian army and rebel forces also clashed for control of the Tall al-Abyad border post with Turkey, local sources and media said. The Observatory also gave a toll of at least 65 civilians on Tuesday.

Iran’s proposal emerged in a meeting in Cairo on Monday of the Syria “contact group” to which it Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey belong, Tehran’s official news agency IRNA and broadcaster IRIB said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi appealed for “a simultaneous halt in clashes and violence by the sides in Syria, insisted on a peaceful solution without foreign intervention and a halt to financial, military and training support for the Syrian opposition,” IRNA reported, without giving a source.

Tehran, which is widely suspected of providing military support to Assad’s regime, accuses Turkey and Saudi Arabia of doing the same for the rebels.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who attended Monday’s talks, stressed that Saudi participation would be crucial. Saudi Arabia was notably absent at Monday’s talks.

The group is to meet again in New York later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Egypt’s state news agency reported.

In other developments, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was welcomed by some 1,300 Syrians at the Altinozu refugee camp in Turkey’s Hatay province near the Syrian border, amid anti-regime chants like “Free Syria! We will fight till freedom!” He said the “crisis is dangerous and getting worse, and it is a threat to the Syrian people, the region and the world.”

Saudi Arabia has barred Syrians from entering the country to perform the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage, Syrian state media said Tuesday, marking the latest break between the two Arab nations.

“The Syrian High Committee of haj has announced the halt to the pilgrimage this year, due to a failure to reach consensus with the Saudi authorities,” the SANA reported.