Syrian Forces, Rebels Pound Targets in Aleppo

Posted August 2nd, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian rebels have used a captured tank to shell a military base in the northern city of Aleppo, as government forces pounded rebel strongholds in the city with tank and artillery fire.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government shelling left seven people dead. The Britain-based group also says cell phone and Internet service is being gradually restored in Aleppo after being cut on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, activists say a security force raid in Damascus on Wednesday left dozens of people dead. Syrian state media said the operation targeted “terrorists,” a reference to the rebels.

A Pentagon spokesman says U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Jordan's King Abdullah have discussed what he called the “intolerable acts” of the Syrian regime and the prospects for a political transition in Syria. Panetta is in Jordan as part of a regional tour.

In another development, Russia said on Thursday it would not support a Saudi-drafted resolution on Syria that is set to be debated in the U.N. General Assembly.

Russia's foreign ministry says the measure, which expresses concern about violence and calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's departure, is unbalanced.

Russia and China have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria but the General Assembly resolutions are non-binding and cannot be vetoed.

Also, U.S. sources told western media that President Barack Obama signed an order earlier this year allowing the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. agencies to provide support to the rebels.

The National Security Council declined to comment to VOA about the report.