Clashes peak in Syria's Aleppo
Updated: 2012-09-29 09:19
DAMASCUS - Fighting between Syrian government troops and armed rebels raged on in a number of hotspots Friday, mainly in rebellious suburbs of the capital Damascus and northern Aleppo city at a time the US said it is contributing 15 million US dollars in "nonlethal" aid to the Syrian opposition seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Clashes intensified in Aleppo on Friday, a day after the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced the commencement of "decisive battle" in the northern crucial city.
Syria's state-run SANA news agency said government troops carried out several operations in Aleppo on Friday, during which the troops have managed to kill scores of armed men.
The pro-government Sham FM radio said more than 100 armed men were killed Friday during the Syrian troops' operations at Ba' adeen and al-Sakhour areas in Aleppo.
The radio report also said that armed groups created a big hole at an oil pipeline connecting the eastern Deir al-Zour province with the central province of Homs, giving no further details.
Meanwhile, a video appeared online on Friday showing a number of rebels and alleged defectors announcing the unification of all western brigades of Aleppo's rebels.
An alleged brigadier, who identified himself as Ahmad al-Faj, appeared in the video announcing the unification of the battalion in western Aleppo under one brigade called "al-Motasem bellah."
In the video, a number of leaders and commanders presented their names and titles of their battalions that were uniting.
Tension has got high between the Sunnis and the Alawites during the crisis amid reports that a sectarian cleansing has taken place in some areas that used to combine Alawite and Sunni people, mainly in Syria's central province of Homs.
The anti-Assad movement constitutes largely form Sunni Muslims, who pose the majority of Syria's 23 million citizens, while President Assad belongs to the Alawite minority.
Meanwhile, Syrian government troops stormed Friday the rebellious suburbs of Barzeh, Jobar and Qaboun in the southeastern part of Damascus, activists said. The troops conducted wide-scale house raids in search for wanted men.
Sources told Xinhua that government forces helped free six people who had been kidnapped by armed insurgent groups at Basateen Barzeh area south of Damascus.
SANA said the troops confronted armed men in Qaboun and Barzeh, eliminating many of them.
While most of the focus is concentrated on Aleppo and Damascus, activists reported clashes in Deir al-Zour and Homs provinces.
While the widespread violence keeps gaining momentum, the US administration showed again that it's biased to the Syrian opposition, donating $15 million in "nonlethal" aid to the opposition in addition to $30 million in new humanitarian assistance.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the new aid at a gathering of the so-called "Friends of Syria" group that she hosted at a New York hotel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
"It is no secret that our attempts to move forward at the UN Security Council have been blocked repeatedly, but the United States is not waiting," Clinton said during the Friends of Syria meeting while announcing the new aid.
Syrian opposition abroad is also trying to push for international moves against Syrian government outside the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, a senior Russian diplomat said Friday that attempts to solve the Syrian crisis outside the UN would have destructive consequences for both Syria and the existing world order.
"The attempts to look for ways out of the crisis in Syria outside the UN Security Council would have very destructive and dangerous consequences for Syria itself, for the Middle East region and, eventually, for the current world order as a whole," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a conference of professional diplomats.