Violence escalates, Syrian forces pound rebel in Aleppo

Monday, August 06, 2012
Damascus: The escalating violence has thrown the Syrian life out of gear as the country army forces pounded rebel positions in second city Aleppo on Sunday.

The country's biggest city has turns into a key battleground in the nearly year and a half uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, as government forces reportedly mass ahead of what is expected to be a strong offensive against the rebels. 

After UN Security Council paralysis on Syria forced peace envoy Kofi Annan to resign last week, and with his ceasefire plan a distant memory, rebels have been battered by the government onslaught in Aleppo and the capital Damascus.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more than 40 Syrians, including 25 civilians, were confirmed as killed Sunday across the country.  The British-based group said more than 24 others were killed a day earlier.  The casualties have not been independently verified.

Meanwhile, Iranian has asked Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of 48 Iranian nationals kidnapped Saturday in Damascus. 

Iran says the victims were religious pilgrims, but a brigade commander with the Free Syrian Army describes them as elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has backed the Syrian government, while Turkey and Qatar supported the Syrian opposition. 
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