"There is no holiday," said Mohammed Radwan, 34, standing near an apartment building in Aleppo's Tariq al-Bab neighborhood, which was hit by an air strike the day before. "The electricity comes and goes, the jets fire on us and no one has any work. All we'll do today is clean up the rocks and rubble."
Nearby, a group of men coated in gray cement dust searched the wreckage of the strike for the bodies of two girls, aged 2 and 14.
The fighting in Aleppo has marked the first time that Assad has relied heavily on air power to bomb and strafe rebel forces who have grown adept at challenging ground troops. The poorly armed opposition fighters are largely helpless against near-daily strikes by attack helicopters and fighter jets, and the attacks often kill or terrify civilians. As many as 200,000 have fled Aleppo, either to nearby villages or to refugee camps in Turkey.
But after three weeks of battle, the government has still not managed to defeat the rebels - a sign of the regime's loosening grip on the country.
An air strike Wednesday that killed more than 40 people cast a pall over holiday prayers in Azaz, near the Turkish border. Only about 100 men showed up to pray in the Hadideen mosque with its salmon-colored minaret bearing the scars of a shell blast.
Residents said many families fled the town after the strike. Others packed up blankets and mats to camp out in the olive groves around town, fearing another attack on the holiday.
A similar mood permeated rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo, many of which have been subjected to heavy shelling and bombings that have damaged buildings and forced civilians to flee.
Syrian state media continued to try to project an image of normalcy despite the violence that anti-regime activists say has killed more than 20,000 people since the uprising started in March 2011.
State TV showed Assad praying in a small mosque in Damascus' al-Mihajireen district. He sat cross-legged on the floor and later shook hands with officials.
In a marked difference from past years, it did not show Assad's convoy leaving or arriving. Residents said security forces blocked streets and encircled several mosques, probably to confuse people about the president's whereabouts.