Assad Urges Syrian Troops to Fight ‘Crucial’ Battle
The battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo intensified on Wednesday as United Nations observers there reported that Syrian jets had fired rockets into contested neighborhoods and that rebels had commandeered tanks and other heavy weapons.
Opposition leaders — a few hours after President Bashar al-Assad urged his forces to step up the fight — also said that they had found dozens of bodies in a suburb of Damascus in the aftermath of the Syrian army’s house-to-house search for rebel fighters and activists. This claim of a new massacre came as the rebels faced severe criticism themselves for what appeared to be their brutal summary execution, one day earlier, of suspected pro-government gunmen on the streets of Aleppo, recorded and uploaded on the Internet.
Videos purported to have been taken in the Damascus suburb, Jdeidit Artouz, showed bodies lined up under bloodstained sheets, as a narrator gave an estimated count that continued rising: 37, 42, and then even more.
“I counted 52 bodies,” said Abu Abdullah, a resident who said he had helped move the dead to a local mosque before burial. “I’m really shocked. Why here?”