Syrian Troops, Rebels Clash in Aleppo
CAIRO – Syrian government forces continued their assault in the besieged commercial city of Aleppo Monday, after claiming the upper hand in fighting with outgunned and outmanned rebels.
Amateur video showed street battles raging in several key neighborhoods. Both the government and rebel fighters claimed to control the strategic Salaheddin district.
Abou Firas, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, told Alhurra TV that fighting is still going on in Salaheddin, and that the rebels control 60 percent of the city.
Firas said the FSA fought a bitter battle to capture the last government checkpoint on the road between Aleppo and the Turkish border at Anadin. He says the Aleppo countryside is free of government forces and that the road to Turkey is clear.
Inside Aleppo, government forces stepped up their shelling of rebel-held districts, using rockets, mortar rounds, field artillery and helicopter gunships.
The U.N. reports that 200,000 residents have fled the city in the last two days and conditions are harsh for those who remain behind.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said it was not known how many people remain trapped in places where fighting was continuing.
Amos said the fighting is making it hard for humanitarian agencies to provide displaced residents with urgently needed food, mattresses, blankets, hygiene supplies and drinking water.
Arab TV channels report thousands of people have crowded into schools and other makeshift shelters. There is no electricity or running water in many places, and bread and other foodstuffs are in short supply.
Syrian government forces continued to shell other towns and cities, including Dara'a in the south, Deir ez Zor in the east, and Homs, Rastan and Telbiseh north of Lebanon. Activists also say government forces raided homes and made arrests in suburbs of Damascus.