x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Syria army launches offensive in Aleppo, activists say

The activist group the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution said that troops were raking the Salaheddin district with heavy machine-gun fire as they advanced.

BEIRUT // The Syrian army launched a threatened counter-offensive against rebel fighters in Aleppo today, pouring troops into the south-west of the commercial hub.

The reinforcements, which have been massing over the past two days, "have moved on the Salaheddin district, where the largest number of rebel fighters are based", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today.

"The fiercest clashes of the uprising are taking place in several neighbourhoods of the city," the head of the Britain-based watchdog, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

"You can say that the fightback has begun."

The activist group the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution said that troops were raking Salaheddin with heavy machine-gun fire as they advanced on the neighbourhood, which has been a stronghold of rebel fighters since they seized large parts of Syria's second city on July 20.

Columns of troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships have poured into Aleppo prompting concern among western governments about the dangers of reprisals against the city's civilian population.