25/07/2014 09:43 BST | Updated 25/07/2014 09:59 BST

Syria Has Its Bloodiest Week With 1,700 Killed

As Israeli missiles lay waste to Gaza, Hamas rockets fly and innocents die in civilian planes downed in eastern Ukraine, Syria has slipped even further under the radar.

But with international attention focused elsewhere, Syria has just recorded it's bloodiest week since the country descended into violence three years ago.

More than 1,700 people have been killed in just seven days, with fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) accused of killing hundreds of government troops in a battle for a gas field, with hundreds of civilians killed as fighting intensified across the nation. The three-year-long civil war in Syria has now killed over 170,000 and displaced nearly nine million .

In the latest round of fighting, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 270 government soldiers and gas field employees were killed in the clashes on July 19, many of them shot through the head execution-style.

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More than 400 people have been killed in clashes elsewhere in the country, including in the capital Damascus which was hit by its fiercest fighting in months, after President Bashar Al-Assad was sworn in for a third term as president.

Dozens were killed and wounded when a Syrian government helicopter apparently dropped a barrel bomb on the Sakhour eastern neighborhood, in the northern city of Aleppo.

ISIS, which now holds swathes of northern Iraq, has concentrated its attacks not just on Syrian government forces but has also been engaged in fire-fights with more moderate rebel groups who also oppose the Assad regime. The group, which now by the moniker 'Islamic State' has announced the establishment of a 'Caliphate' in northern Syria and Iraq, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who calls himself Caliph Ibrahim.

Last week, other rebel factions wre drive out of the major city of Deir al-Zor in Syria's east, an oil-rich region which borders Iraq.

This week, the United Nations said it had sent its first aid convoy into Syria without the consent of the government. Until a new UN resolution which allowed trucks to enter without the approval of Damascus, almost 90% of UN aid to Syria has gone to parts of the country still under government-control, and did not reach many of those in need.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said obstructing aid was "a tactic of war". Syria has said UN aid convoys are an attack on its sovereignty.

"This is compounding the already dire water, sanitation and health conditions in conflict areas and resulting in an increased risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases."

The UN has also appointed a new envoy to the region, Italian-Syrian diplomat, Staffan de Mistura. He replaced Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned in May in frustration over the lack of progress between the Syrian government and rebels leaders.