The United Nations' human rights agency warned today of an "imminent" showdown, according to the Associated Press, while US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told Washington reporters that the US was concerned it would see a "massacre" in Aleppo. "That's what the regime appears to be lining up for," she said, according to The New York Times.
"The stakes could not be higher," writes BBC's Ian Pannell, who has been reporting from inside Aleppo. "For the armed opposition losing would be a disastrous setback that, at the very least, could neuter their revolution for months. For President Bashar al-Assad, losing Aleppo could be the tipping point that presages the downfall of his government."