Amid fears of a bloodbath, reports say a battle between rebels and President Assad’s troops for Syria’s second city of Aleppo is well underway.
Opposition fighters have been striving to defend rebel-held areas, against days of bombardment. And as military aircraft reportedly pound Aleppo again today, government tanks are said to be moving in ahead of a final onslaught aimed at dislodging the rebels.
Keen to show off armoured vehicles they say they have destroyed, the rebels are nonetheless heavily outnumbered and outgunned.
Visiting his British counterpart, Turkey’s prime minister called for international steps to address the military assault and Syria’s threat to use chemical weapons.
“There is a build-up in Aleppo, and the recent statements with respect to the use of weapons of mass destruction are actions that we cannot remain an observer or spectator to,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
State TV has broadcast footage of government forces fighting what it called terrorist groups and rebels in Damascus.
As the latest fighting takes place, General Robert Mood, the outgoing head of the UN monitoring mission, said he thought President Assad’s days in power were numbered.