Syrian troops and armored vehicles pushed into a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Saturday and struck back in Damascus against fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle.
Opposition activists in Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and a northern commercial hub, said hundreds of families were fleeing residential areas after the military swept into the Saladin district, which had been in rebel hands for two days. Fighting was also reported in the densely-populated, poor neighbourhood of al-Sakhour.
The Syrian army's push in Aleppo occurred after rebels assassinated four of Assad's top security officials this week and mounted a six-day attack in the capital that they dubbed "Damascus Volcano.” Rebels also captured three border crossings with Iraq and Turkey, and on Saturday an Iraqi security source said gunmen appeared to be taking over a fourth at Yarubiyah in Syria's Kurdish northeast.
The surge in violence has trapped millions of Syrians, turned sections of Damascus into ghost areas, and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Lebanon. (Reuters)