Middle East

Syria army advances into rebel-held district of Aleppo: Activists

In this citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, Syrians chant anti-government slogans during a demonstration in Kafar Souseh, Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

BEIRUT: Syria's army advanced on Monday into a new rebel-held area of the country's second city Aleppo, days after it seized control of the neighbouring district of Salaheddin, activists said.

"With tanks, Syria's regime forces have stormed the west of the district of Saif al-Dawla," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "They are now clashing with the rebels, and parts of Salaheddin are being shelled."

Fierce battles have raged since July 20 in Aleppo, the northern metropolis whose fate is seen as pivotal in determining the outcome of the increasingly brutal conflict.

Rebels in July took over several districts, particularly in the city's southern belt, but regime forces stormed and reclaimed most of the neighbourhood of Salaheddin last week.

Rebels and regime forces have continued to clash in several areas of the city, once the country's commercial bastion, since the Free Syrian Army was forced to retreat from most of Salaheddin last week.

Rebels are relying mostly on hit-and-run tactics, while the army has been shelling several districts.





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