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Syrian Rebels Bogged Down in Aleppo

  • Scott Bobb

For months, rebels of the Free Syrian Army have been waging battles with government forces in parts of Syria's most populous city, Aleppo. The fight is largely at a stalemate with rebels kept at bay by government snipers and poundings by planes and helicopters.

In the divided Syrian city of Aleppo, rebels of the Free Syria Army are preparing a mission into the battle zone.

They hold a short planning session and then head out through a firefight along their street.

Inside the battle-scarred Old City, the frontline is constantly shifting. The rebels make advances, but often must retreat under government aerial bombardments against which they have no strong defense.

There are snipers on this street. The rebels rig a mirror to see around the corner. One throws a homemade grenade at the snipers drawing a quick response.

The fighters are retrieving the bodies of a family that was killed when a mortar hit their kitchen gas canister. Three children and their aunt died. The mother was wounded. The father died of a heart attack when he saw them.

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Abu Ahmed (not his real name) says the bodies have lain here for nearly two weeks. The rebels could not reach them because of the fighting.

"Just come and see, in the name of God, this is a humanitarian crisis," said Ahmed. "The people are dying in front of us, and we can't do anything. Every day there is one, or two or ten cases like this."

It is an emotional moment, but still dangerous. To avoid the snipers they pass through apartment after apartment, using makeshift tunnels.

With citizens being wounded by the day across Aleppo, there appears little sign of ending the battles that have erupted over the last four months. Residents can only hope for an interlude as international efforts for a cease-fire continue.
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