Helicopters Pound Aleppo
Mosques close as civilians flee Damascus, Aleppo
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2012 7:02 AM CDT
A Free Syrian Army soldier looks at a military tank, background, caught on fire during clashes with Syrian government troops in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)
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(Newser) – Syrian helicopters have kept up the heavy attacks on Aleppo today, as the military continues to build its force on the city's outskirts in anticipation of a possible all-out invasion of the country's commercial capital, reports the New York Times. But despite the possibility of serious civilian casualties, the White House re-affirmed that America would not be getting involved militarily. "We do not think pouring more fuel onto the fire is going to save lives," said a State Department spokeswoman. Other developments:

  • Aleppo MP Ikhlas Badawi defected to Turkey. "I have crossed to Turkey and defected from this tyrannical regime ... because of the repression and savage torture against a nation demanding the minimum of rights," she said, according to Enduring America.

  • Civilians are streaming out of Damascus and Aleppo, trying to get out of the way of the escalating violence, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Recent defector Brigadier General Manaf Tlass appears to be gaining support to be made "transitional leader" of the opposition, the Journal also reports.
  • Many mosques are closed in Damascus today and there will be no Friday prayers, tweeted Alex Thompson of Channel 4 News.