After being mostly spared from the fighting, Syria’s largest city of Aleppo is being drawn into the civil war.
Syrian President Bashar Assad had mostly had control over the city, apart from protests at the university, but this weekend several local sheikhs announced that they were backing the rebel factions, turning Aleppo into yet another “contested” city.
Rebels poured into the city, with one faction calling itself the “Brigade of Unification” sending a claimed 1,000 fighters into Aleppo, sparking major clashes with the Syrian military. The group’s leadership promised to “liberate” the city militarily.
As usual the prediction of an easy victory for the rebels didn’t pan out however, and heavy fighting is continuing into the evening. At the same time, fighting is reported in several Damascus districts.
Syrian military forces have made some inroads in retaking parts of Damascus, having captured a key suburb this evening. Such gains have often been temporary for either side, however, and the rebels are still claiming to hold the advantage in the capital.