Syrian forces encircle rebels in Aleppo stronghold
07 August 2012, 14:52
Aleppo - Syrian
rebels trying to fight off an army offensive in Aleppo said on Tuesday
they were running low on ammunition as President Bashar al-Assad's
forces encircled their stronghold at the southern entrance to the
country's biggest city.
Assad, dealt another political blow on Monday with the defection
of his prime minister, has reinforced his troops in preparation for an
assault to recapture rebel-held districts of Aleppo after repelling
fighters from most of Damascus.
"The Syrian army is trying to encircle us from two sides of
Salaheddine," said Sheikh Tawfiq, one of the rebel commanders, referring
to the southwestern neighbourhood which has seen heavy fighting over
the last week.
Mortar fire and tank shells exploded across the district early on
Tuesday, forcing rebel fighters to take cover in crumbling buildings
and rubble-strewn alleyways.
Tanks have entered parts of Salaheddine and army snipers, using
the cover of heavy bombardment, deployed on rooftops, hindering rebel
Another rebel commander, Abu Ali, said snipers at the main
Saleheddine roundabout were preventing the rebels from bringing in
reinforcements and supplies. He said five of his fighters were killed on
Monday and 20 wounded.
But rebels said they were still holding the main streets of
Salaheddine which have been the frontline of their clashes with Assad's
A fighter jet pounded targets in the eastern districts of Aleppo
and artillery shelling could be heard in the early morning, an activist
in Aleppo said.
"Two families, about 14 people in total, were believed killed when a
shell hit their home and it collapsed this morning," the activist said.
The house was one street away from a school being used by rebels, he