Friday, September 28, 2012

Syrian Rebels Announce Big Offensive in Aleppo

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Rebel fighters in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo said Thursday that they had launched a major offensive against government troops in the city, just as the United Nations and humanitarian agencies warned that the number of Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries could surge past 700,000, far exceeding earlier estimates.

Activists in Aleppo, a city ravaged by months of a brutal but inconclusive battle between insurgents and the military, said the offensive was announced around 4 p.m., with calls from the city’s mosques. Members of the rebel Tawhid Brigade declared the start of a “decisive” battle in Internet videos, including one that showed fighters from the unit wearing matching white headbands, walking with weapons down a deserted street.

The offensive involved hundreds of rebel fighters attacking government positions on several fronts, members of the brigade said.

Their claims could not be immediately verified, but late Thursday night, activists in the city reported heavy clashes and shelling in several neighborhoods.

The reported offensive in Aleppo followed days of brazen rebel attacks on Syrian military positions. Read More