Erika Solomon – Reuters July 30, 2012
The Syrian military stepped up its campaign to drive rebel fighters out of Aleppo on Monday, firing artillery and mortars while a fighter jet flew over a district the army said it had retaken the day before.
However, opposition activists denied government forces had entered the Salaheddine district, which lies in the southwest of the country’s biggest city and straddles the most obvious route for Syrian troop reinforcements coming from the south.
Hospitals and makeshift clinics in rebel-held eastern neighbourhoods were filling up with casualties from a week of fighting in Aleppo, a commercial hub that had previously stayed out of a 16-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
“Some days we get around 30, 40 people, not including the bodies,” said a young medic in one clinic. “A few days ago we got 30 injured and maybe 20 corpses, but half of those bodies were ripped to pieces. We can’t figure out who they are.”
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 40 people, including 30 civilians, were killed in Syria on Monday. Two rebel fighters died in Salaheddine.
Outgunned rebel fighters, patrolling in flat-bed trucks flying green-white-and-black “independence” flags, said they were holding out in Salaheddine despite a battering by the army’s heavy weapons and helicopter gunships.
“We always knew the regime’s grave would be Aleppo,” said Mohammed, a young fighter, fingering the bullets in his tattered brown ammunition vest. “Damascus is the capital, but here we have a fourth of the country’s population and the entire force of its economy. Bashar’s forces will be buried here.”
An unidentified Syrian army officer said on state television late on Sunday that troops had pushed “those mercenary gunmen” completely out of Salaheddine, adding: “In a few days safety and security will return to the city of Aleppo.”
Comment – July 30, 2012
The ‘Free Syrian Army’ may well be largely comprised of mercenary gunmen, as claimed by the Syrian Army officer. Indeed, this is becoming increasingly apparent. From Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans, who was held by the Free Syrian Army and who described there being not “one Syrian” among his captors, to the Libyan rebels fighting in Syria, there is every indication that President Assad’s armed opponents are largely made up of foreign mercenaries.
The young medic quoted above further illustrates this when he says:
“A few days ago we got 30 injured and maybe 20 corpses, but half of those bodies were ripped to pieces. We can’t figure out who they are.”
This is because the bodies of ‘Syrian rebels’ are being deliberately disfigured to disguise their identities and the fact that they are NOT Syrian.
As Iran’s Press TV has already reported, many of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ dead are being burnt to hide their identity and nationality. This is to conceal the fact that armed opposition to President Assad is largely comprised of foreign nationals armed by the West and sponsored by the Gulf States.
Nonetheless, the Western media has largely overlooked these reports and the conclusions they lead to.
Instead, media focus shifted yesterday from fighting in Aleppo to Britain and the resignation of Syria’s top diplomat in London. Khaled al-Ayoubi’s resignation made him one of the most prominent Syrian diplomats to date to turn their backs on President Assad and signal his opposition to his “violent and oppresive” regime.
A statement from Britain’s Foreign Office said Mr Ayoubi had informed it of his decision on Monday morning.
It read: “Mr al-Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position.”