Fight for Aleppo Intensifies as Both Sides Claim Advantage Assad appoints new PM By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Aug 9, 2012 7:35 AM CDT 3 comments Comments Syrians on motorcycles look at the damage of a destroyed house after it was hit by an air strike killing six Syrians in town of Tal Rifat on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, Aug. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra) (Newser) – Syrian government troops launched a fresh ground assault to retake Aleppo yesterday, and shelling continues today, but conflicting reports on the state of the fight persist. State media claims "huge numbers" of rebels have been killed and that Bashar al-Assad's forces control the particularly strategic Salah al-Din district, but rebels claim they have re-taken the district. Other reports, however, indicate the rebels have retreated due to dwindling ammunition. Both sides are also accusing the other of being bolstered by foreign forces, the New York Times notes. One particularly disturbing story: Aleppo residents say they're getting text messages from the Syrian Army about cooperating with the government, like: "Dear brothers, informing about terrorists means you are saving yourself and your family." Other developments: Assad has appointed former health minister, Wael al-Halqi, as Syria's latest prime minister, the BBC reports. Riad Hijab, Halqi's predecessor who recently defected, arrived in Jordan yesterday. Iran is holding a conference on Syria today, but has not released any details including what countries will be in attendance.