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Syria revolt reaches Aleppo; rebels target cities

July 22, 2012 • World News


This citizen journalist image shot through a broken car window shows smoke billowing from a building after fighting between rebels and Syrian troops in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in south Damascus, Syria, Saturday, July 21, 2012. This week, fierce fighting between troops and rebels reached the Syrian capital, the central bastion of Bashar Assad’s rule, shattering parts of the city and sending thousands of people fleeing to neighboring Lebanon and Iraq. Activists and residents reported a tense calm in Damascus Saturday but said sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard throughout the night. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT (AP) — Riding a wave of momentum, Syrian rebels made a run on Aleppo Saturday in some of the fiercest fighting seen in the country’s largest city, which has been a key bastion of support for President Bashar Assad over the course of the 17-month-old uprising.

The rebels also took over a third border crossing — and the second one along Syria’s frontier with Iraq — another sign the regime’s tight grip on the country is wobbling.

The fighting in Aleppo comes on the heels of intense clashes in the capital, Damascus, as rebel forces target the pillars of regime power in their attempts to usher in what they hope will be the end of Assad’s rule.

“There were huge explosions and the gunfire didn’t stop for several hours,” Aleppo-based activist Mohammad Saeed told The Associated Press via Skype. “The uprising has finally reached Aleppo.”

The city has remained largely loyal to Assad and been spared the kind of daily bloodshed that has plagued other areas.

But Saeed said dozens of fighters from the rag-tag Free Syrian Army entered Aleppo — a commercial hub — from the countryside and were fighting regime troops from inside.

It was the first sustained fighting in the city Login to read more

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