31 Jul 2012

Fighting continues in Aleppo

11:07 pm on 31 July 2012

As the Syrian army offensive in the city of Aleppo enters its fourth day, fresh reports are emerging of clashes and attacks by helicopter gunships.

Activists say at least 25 people died on Monday, while thousands of refugees are continuing to flee the fighting.

The BBC reports Syrian news outlets say army troops had complete control over Salah al-Din, one of the areas of Aleppo where rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army had become entrenched, on Monday.

Analysts say Salah al-Din provides an important route for Syrian troop reinforcements coming from the south. Activists and rebel commanders deny government forces have gained ground there.

Rebel fighters report renewed heavy shelling and helicopter gunship attacks, especially around the Sakhour quarter on the north-east side of Aleppo.

They say violent clashes have also taken place near the Air Force Intelligence headquarters to the west of the city, the BBC reports.

Supplies running out

With battles raging in several areas, thousands of people are continuing to flee the city.

Supplies are reported to be running out in certain areas and those citizens remaining face long queues for bread.

The United Nations is warning of a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

State television made no mention of events in Aleppo, focusing instead on what it says are government successes in Homs.

The BBC reports it broadcast a detailed report from there, saying the quarter of Qarabis, which has long been held by rebel fighters, has finally fallen to government forces.

Diplomatic efforts to ramp up

The United States and Turkey have agreed to step up efforts to achieve "political transition" in Syria.

This would include the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the White House says.