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Syrian Rebels Refute Regime Claims, Say Still Hold Southern Gateway To Aleppo

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in Aleppo's Salaheddine district on August 5.
Syrian government troops and rebels against President Bashar al-Assad's regime continue to fight for control of the country's largest city of Aleppo, with each side claiming victory.

Aleppo, which is also the country's commercial hub, has been the scene of fighting for more than two weeks now, with government troops pressing on with a wide-scale assault against rebel-held areas.

The rebels said on August 9 they were in control of the southern district of Salaheddine, which government troops claimed to have regained.

Opposition fighters claim Syrian Army forces have not been able to advance into the district, despite days of intense fighting involving Syrian Army tanks, heavy artillery, helicopter gunships, and war planes.

But the rebel version of events is at odds with reports by Syrian state television, which reports that government forces have pushed into Salaheddine, killed most of the rebels there, and were entering other parts of the city in a new offensive.

The damaged streets and homes of Salaheddine bear witness to the heavy fighting that has taken place there during the past week.

There also has been an increase in the number of refugees fleeing to Turkey since August 6.

Later on August 9, Iran, a key regional ally of Assad's regime, is to hold a conference on the Syrian conflict.

It was unclear which countries will attend the conference, which is seen by some observers as an attempt to deflect attention from the escalating violence.

Based on reporting by dpa, Reuters, AP, and AFP

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