'Main battle for Aleppo about to start'

2012-08-03 07:36

Geneva - The "main battle" for the Syrian city of Aleppo is about to start, a top UN official said on Thursday, highlighting the spiralling violence in the conflict.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous also said after briefing the UN Security Council on the conflict that UN observers had not yet seen opposition rebels using the tanks and other heavy weapons that they now have.

"The spiral of violence is still increasing," Ladsous told reporters.

"The focus two weeks ago was on Damascus, the focus is now on Aleppo where there has been a considerable build-up of military means and where we have reason to believe that the main battle is about to start," he added.

Aleppo has been under siege from President Bashar Assad's forces since 20 July and military observers have predicted a prolonged battle for the northern city.

Syrian rebels used tanks for the first time to attack a military airport northwest of Aleppo on Thursday, a rebel commander said. Rebel commander Abdel Aziz Salameh said his forces had captured four tanks from government forces.

Number of observers cut

Ladsous said unarmed military observers who have been near Aleppo have seen the heavy weapons.

"We have not yet seen the opposition in the action of using those heavy weapons against government forces. But we know that they have tanks, that they have armoured personnel carriers et cetera - that's a fact," he said.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria has cut its number of observers from nearly 300 to less than 150 in the past two weeks because of the increased strife and the suspension of most of its operations.

Ladsous said the mission had still been able to carry out about 50 patrols in the past two weeks and had tried to arrange local ceasefires to let civilians get out of conflict zones.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is preparing recommendations on the future of the UN presence in Syria after the UNSMIS mandate ends on 20 August.

Western nations want the mission closed down while Russia is arguing that it should be extended and strengthened, despite the increased violence and the resignation of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

No agreement

Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said UNSMIS was still playing an "important and useful role".

France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud said the observers will probably have to leave because there is no agreement on the 15-nation Security Council about the future of UNSMIS.

"Honestly, I think there will be no agreement. I think the mission will disappear on August 19," Araud told reporters. "I cannot see a scenario, except a change on the ground, that would allow the mission to stay."

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-03 08:09

    The UN observer mission, has been totally useless, and has merely confirmed what various news media and the Syrian opposition, have been saying; An onslaught by this assad terrorist regime, on its 'own' people, BEYOND BELIEVE !! But even with TANKS, AIRFORCE AIRCRAFT, GUNSHIP HELICOPTERS, and EVERYTHINH of a modern army, they cannot overpower the opposition. Fighting against 20 million Syrians, just about the whole population, it is totally impossible for these assad terrorists to win !!

      neutedop.opinie - 2012-08-03 09:31

      I wish politics in the UN (Russia's ties with Assad) will take a step back, and the real reason we have a UN, will win. It is to protect lifes, and Russia and China only cae about what they can gain, and not about a president who kills his own people, while the world looks on.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-03 12:12

      "Fighting against 20 million Syrians" You are nothing but a pawn who insidiously posts information which is pure propaganda. Beside,If one is a propagandist, one should be prepared to accept the indignity and contempt, generally, felt towards propagandists. Seriously, why don't you make the propaganda a bit more subtle.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-03 12:22

      Mgoqi since you are not a democrat you should be conveniently ignored with your communist ravings.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-03 13:04

      prop·a·gan·da [prop-uh-gan-duh] Show IPA noun 1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc. 2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc. If I believed my opinions to be an incontestable fact, I would not be posting on this website, but write a book intstead. I haven't made any quantifiable ludicrous claims. If you cannot see the difference between my posts and that of Anthony or Fred, then you are free to be willfully ignorant. @Gerhard You sound like an overtired child looking for attention. Maybe you should go lie down.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-03 13:25

      Fidel, ""Fighting against 20 million Syrians"" It is doubtful, I am that far out. This notion that a dictator has much support , is absurd. For FIFTY YEARS, he holds no elections, and he is poular?????? Time and time again , one sees, as soon as a dictator has been toppled, just about all support vanishes, at the same time. We seen the same happening in Libya. This gaddafi fruitcake, said 'His people lovvvved and adoooored him" Remember the pro gaddafi rally on Green Square ? The pro gaddafi camp, claiming 2.7 MILLION on that square....... And than hours after gaddafi got a lift on the back of a bakkie, hardly a person in Libya==pro gaddafi. gaddafi had a few words mixed up, like love, adoration, AND 'FEAR' And threre is no reason to believe that when this assad thug is gone, within hours, there will be hardly a supporter of him, left in Syria !!! Getting back to prop.a.gan.da, ; that word belongs to the ones who claim he has so much support. SO, You are nothing but a pawn who insidiously posts information which is pure propaganda. Beside,If one is a propagandist, one should be prepared to accept the indignity and contempt, generally, felt towards propagandists. Seriously, why don't you make the propaganda a bit more subtle.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-03 14:06

      You are trully insufferable!

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-03 14:15

      Mgoqi the dictator is on his way out. The syrian people will win this one. Why can you not see that and give them all your support?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-03 20:34

      He and Patrick can't see it because they've blinded themselves with an immature anti-West core belief that leads them to unwittingly support a brutal, unelected dictator killing, maiming, torturing and raping Syrians by the tens of thousands. They don't know they're doing this, having effectively blinded themselves.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-03 21:02

      Same rubbish repeated in thread after thread! Hey slg?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-04 07:19

      Who's slg?

  • CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-03 12:36

    it was soooooo witty i decided to post it again anthony & fidel square off and prepare to support their teams. anthonys at the kickoff ,he passed the ball to clinton fidel intercepts and passes to assad wait whats this? annan is offside? annan leaves the field in disgust at the referee's call oh no ,fidel and anthony have suffered a simultaneous groin injury while both going for the ball. the crowd goes wild

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-03 13:06

      Brilliant, you have such a sharp wit!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-03 13:29

      Thanks, Hollow Corn !!

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-03 14:18


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