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Reports Of Fierce Fighting In Aleppo

Heavy smoke covers the skyline of Aleppo city after a bombing earlier this week.
Activists say Syrian troops and rebels are fighting some of their fiercest battles to date in the northern city of Aleppo.

The clashes on September 28 are part of a new push by the rebels against regime forces in Syria's largest city and commercial capital.

There are conflicting reports of the progress of the fighting.

The major rebel group in the city -- the Tawhid Brigade -- says its members have entered the Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood to fight pro-government Kurdish gunmen.

But state-run Syrian TV says government troops repulsed an attack on the neighborhood with the help of its residents.

Meanwhile, also on September 28, government troops launched assaults on several rebel areas in the north of the Syrian capital Damascus.

UN Rights Body Extends War Crimes Inquiry

In related news, on September 28, the United Nations' main human rights body passed a resolution condemning widespread gross violations committed by Syrian government forces.

The resolution also extended by six months the mandate for the rights body to investigate war crimes in Syria.

The Geneva-based 47-member forum adopted the resolution, which was submitted by Arab states, after 41 states voted in favor of it.

Three countries -- China, Cuba and Russia -- voted against the resolution and three others abstained.

The war crimes investigation panel, led by Brazilian professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, has blamed Syria's government forces for the majority of serious abuses since the uprising began in March 2011.

The panel's mandate was due to expire at the end of the month.

Iraqi Vice President Says Violence Not A Solution

Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Khodair Al-Khozaei told the UN General Assembly that solving the crisis in Syria by violence "could double the costs incurred by the Syrians and the region."

Speaking to the assembly on September 27, he said that Baghdad "hopes that all of the parties realize that the bet on the military solution is a dangerous move."

The Iraqi vice president also told the gathering that solving the Israel-Palestinian issue remains a priority for his country and the rest of the Arab world.

He said, "Iraq's position which is constant does not deviate from the Arab unified position in the crucial issues of our nations therefore we support the establishment of the State of Palestine in the occupied Palestinian territories with Jerusalem as its capital."

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL