Syria: Aleppo battle rages. Rebels kill 40 cops, sources say

Army kills 400 rebels.Gov't denounces Turkey, Qatar and S.Arabia

31 July, 19:46

(ANSAMed) - BEIRUT, JULY 31 - The battle for Aleppo and Damascus continues to rage, while abroad, the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad jockeys for position in what it sees as an imminent transition of power.

The area of Aleppo will ''soon be liberated,'' conservative Sunnite leader Hathyam al-Maleh, whom some opposition groups gathered in Cairo charged with forming a transitional government, said in a press conference on Tuesday. ''The transitional government will be formed in consultation with all opposition forces. Its members will be non-affiliated, and it will work towards a civilian state, not a theocratic or military one,'' al-Maleh said.

In Aleppo today, insurgents killed 40 police officers, according to the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, and 60% of the city is under rebel control, according to an al-Jazeera TV correspondent who entered the city with rebel forces.

Security forces today discovered a rebel-dug tunnel connecting the Kisani mosque, in Aleppo city center, with a wedding banquet hall in the south-western neighborhood of Salah al Din, a rebel stronghold that has come under heavy government artillery fire, security sources said.

Aleppo civilians are ''terrorized and seeking shelter in schools, mosques and public buildings,'' according to office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.

Also in Aleppo the military killed 400 ''terrorists'' who attacked the governor's office, the military tribunal and the Baath Party headquarters near Saadallah Jabri Square on Tuesday, according to government security sources. Another 150 insurgents were captured, the anonymous sources said. A Libyan sharpshooter on a roof was apprehended, Damascus-based pro-government daily al-Watan reported.

With regard to Damascus, while intense fighting is ongoing in all the city's suburbs, which have come under heavy government fire, eyewitnesses told ANSA.

Violent clashes have been reported in Qusdaya, Qatana, Jaramana and Dweila, in the east, and rebel arms caches were discovered in government raids in Harasta, in the north.

Also on Tuesday, Syria's foreign ministry sent UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon two letters denouncing the ''criminal behavior'' of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who are arming and financing the ''terrorists who are killing civilians and destroying public and private property,'' pro-government news agency Sana reported. (ANSAMed).


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