Free Syrian Army rebels who have abandoned sectors of the city of Aleppo say they are regrouping and preparing for another assault on the city centre.
Forced out of Salaheddine district that controls the access to Aleppo from the south, the rebels came under intense fire, including air attack.
Hundreds of families are fleeing the city, taking as many of their belongings as they can, piled high on car roofs.
The latest reports are of claims 10 people died in a bakery that was hit by artillery shells, and the Syrian army says it has repulsed a rebel attack on the international airport.
The USA is preparing even tougher sanctions against President Assad’s Baath party and its key supporters.
Britain is also promising to step up its aid to the anti-Assad forces, and that includes non-deadly military hardware.
“I’ve agreed, in principle, that our assistance to the opposition will include communications equipment, to help political activists overcome the regime’s communications blockade and ensure their message gets to the outside world. Our help is likely to include, for instance, mobile phones, satellite phones and radio equipment, which can be used to warn civilians of impending regime assaults,” said British Foreign Minister William Hague on Friday.
Although Aleppo has captured the recent headlines it is far from being the only city suffering from heavy fighting.
Assad appears to have all but lost control of eastern Syria, and city after city in the centre and west is rising against him.
Some, like in Idlib, had protests early on before going quiet again. But in the current climate it is hard for anywhere in Syria to escape the cycle of rebel attack and government repression.
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