Syrian Troops, Rebel Fighters Prepare For Battle In Aleppo
Activists told the BBC that 14 people have been killed. Rebels have set up checkpoints and sniper positions in the country’s commercial capital. A Syrian security source told AFP news agency that special forces had begun arriving on the edges of Aleppo in readiness for a “generalized counter-offensive on Friday or Saturday,” the BBC reported.
Rebels attempted to assert control in more than half a dozen neighborhoods. Many residents left these neighborhoods, though some men stayed to protect their property from looters. Thousands have left Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
“People know there is going to be chaos, fighting, shelling, so people are frightened,” an activist told The New York Times via Skype. “They have stocked up on canned goods and are not venturing out.”
From the BBC:
Talal al-Mayhani, an activist with connections in the rebel movement in Aleppo, said the battle for the city was likely to play out in a similar way to an earlier battle in the capital Damascus, when rebels took control of large parts of the city before being forced to withdraw in the face of a government offensive.
London-based pro-opposition Syrian Human Rights Observatory told Reuters that the army also shelled three districts in the central city of Homs.
“We fear the government’s retaliation,” a resident of the southeastern Salaheddiin neighborhood, Ahmad, told The New York Times. “May God help us.”
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