Inside Aleppo: Rebels repulse Syrian tanks, civilians dodge shells (+video)
Monitor reporter Scott Peterson reports from the Aleppo neighborhood of Salaheddin that the rebels are impeding the Syrian Army's ground progress, pushing them to use more deadly tactics.
When the Syrian government launched its assault on Aleppo's rebel-held enclave of Salaheddin at dawn July 28, rebel fighter Abu Omar had no idea that he would soon make his first kill – as he put it – in the name of freedom.
As the sound of gunfire and exploding grenades began to cascade noisily outside, Abu Omar and a handful of rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leapt anxiously from their mattresses, donned fighting gear, and raced downstairs to step into the fight.
"I don't think the [Syrian] Army will come here. We killed it before," said Abu Omar as the battle commenced. Whatever the outcome, it would be a victory, he said. "If someone from the Free Army dies, we don't get sad. For sure they are in Paradise."
"We will not let the Syrian Army get into Salaheddin before we die," vowed a fighter named Malek.
The Battle of Aleppo may prove a pivotal point when the history is written of Syria's fateful civil war, which could bring to an end the Assad family's 42-year dynasty and change strategic balances across the Middle East. The result of the first two days of the assault, witnessed by the Monitor in the Salaheddin enclave, indicate that far more blood will be shed before either side can declare "victory."
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