The Syrian military is rushing a large number of troops and dozens of tanks to the northern city of Aleppo, the largest city in the nation, as fighting with the rebels continues to intensify. Rebels say they are deploying more fighters to the city too.
This has many predicting one of the most important battles of the nascent civil war is soon to be fought in the city, with both sides hoping to deliver a knockout blow to the other in a city that has only been part of the fighting for the past week.
The city is enormously important to both sides, with the rebels having designs on it being “their Benghazi,” reflecting the desire to turn their own civil war into a Libya redux. Its loss would secure a territory for the rebels to call their own, and would probably increase foreign aid to them.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) now claims to “control” 70 percent of Aleppo, but the ability to maintain that control is very much in doubt. Past rebel offensives to capture large portions of important cities have often given way to counter-offensives by the military which retook most of the territory.