-- These striking images show the casualties of this week's intense fighting in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, where rebels are battling President Bashar Assad's regime.

Images from in and around Dar El Shifa hospital capture the pain and agony of war as doctors and paramedics try to help those wounded by government shelling and in battles with regime forces.

Aleppo, a city of 3 million, was, once a bastion of support for Assad. But it has emerged as a key battleground in Syria's civil war. Its fall would give the rebels a major strategic victory with a stronghold in the north near the Turkish border. A rebel defeat, at the very least, would buy the regime more time.

WARNING: This slideshow includes disturbing images
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  • A wounded Free Syrian Army fighter arrives at Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A Syrian man cries in a hallway of the Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria after his daughter was hit during a Syrian Air Force strike over a school where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Syrian doctors try to save the life of a boy, shot by a Syrian Army sniper, at Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Paramedic closes the eyes of a Syrian man killed by a Syrian Army sniper at Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A Syrian man cries next to the body of his friend near Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A weeping Syrian man is consoled at the door of Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, after his daughter was hit during a Syrian Air Force strike over a school where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Workers at Dar El Shifa hospital try to resuscitate a Syrian boy who was killed, allegedly by Syrian Army shelling, in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (AP Photo / Manu Brabo)

  • A severely wounded man arrives at Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (AP Photo / Manu Brabo)

  • A wounded Syrian woman arrives at Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (AP Photo / Manu Brabo)

  • A weeping Syrian man is consoled at the door of Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria after his daughter was injured during a Syrian Air Force strike over a school where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A Syrian man cries outside the Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, after his daughter was injured during a Syrian Air Force strike over a school where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A Syrian doctor try to safe the life of a boy, shoot by a Syrian Army sniper, at the Dar El Shifa hospital, in Aleppo, Syria Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Doctors and volunteers treat the wounded at the only surgery room in Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • Wounded Syrian man lies on the floor of Dar El Shifa hospital while pointing his finger to the sky in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo / Manu Brabo)

  • A severely wounded Syrian boy arrives at the Dar El Shifa hospital, in Aleppo, Syria Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, after being hit by Syrian Army shelling. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A Dar El Shifa hospital worker cleans the floor outside the hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

  • A doctor carries a severely wounded Syrian boy in the Dar El Shifa hospital, in Aleppo, Syria Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, after the child was hit by Syrian Army shelling. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)