Assad's forces continue to pound Aleppo today, with state TV announcing that the regime is "cleansing the terrorist filth" from the country. Reuters reports that tanks are shelling the city as a helicopter sprays the rebels with machine-gun fire, and a correspondent there reported violent street fighting in the Salaheddine district. But things may be poised to get worse, with Reuters and CNN both hearing from rebels who say two large columns of government troops are on the march toward the city.
"We know they are planning to attack using tanks and aircraft, shooting at us for three to four days and they plan to take the city," says one commander who expects the attack to come "within days." In other Syria news:
- The AP reports that the government yesterday claimed it was now in full control of all districts in Damascus after purging one of the last rebel-held areas. But several residents reported hearing loud explosions and gunfire from several districts of the capital throughout the night.
- Syria's first man in space today fled to Turkey and joined opposition forces there, reports the AP. It was Mohammed Ahmed Faris' fourth attempt to defect, says Turkey.
- A pan-Arab TV station aired a video today purporting to show Syrian rebels guarding a group of 48 Iranians abducted a day earlier and promising more attacks on Iranian targets. Armed men in the video claim the Iranians were on a "reconnaissance mission" in Damascus at the time they were abducted. Iran says they are pilgrims who were visiting a shrine.