Syria's Assad tours Aleppo, orders more troops into battle-paper

BEIRUT Tue Oct 2, 2012 7:10am EDT

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BEIRUT Oct 2 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is visiting the city of Aleppo to take a first-hand look at the fighting between government forces and rebels and has ordered 30,000 more troops into the battle, a Lebanese paper said on Tuesday.

Al-Diyar newspaper, which is known for its pro-Assad stance, said the president had flown by helicopter at dawn from the presidential palace in Damascus to Aleppo.

It did not specify what day the trip started but said that Assad was still in Aleppo. The visit was decided on after reports that the situation in the city, Syria's largest and its commercial center, had become very serious.

" President Assad ordered units 5 and 6, estimated to be 30,000 soldiers and 2,000 personnel carriers, to move from Hama to Aleppo and to attack any occupied areas of Aleppo province from the Turkish border," it said.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the report. An employee of al-Diyar told Reuters it had a correspondent in the city. Syrian state media made no mention of any visit.

Rebels mounted a new offensive last week to seize the city, which was until July firmly under Assad's control. They claim to hold most of the Old City but are struggling to hang on to their positions in the face of heavy artillery fire.

The rebel forces are in the east and Assad's forces in the west of Aleppo. Fires started by the combat have gutted the historic market in the Old City, a world heritage site.

Opposition activists say 30,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old anti-Assad uprising, which has grown into a full-scale civil war.

For much of the revolt, Assad retained a grip on Aleppo. Many rich merchants and minority groups, fearful of instability, chose to stay neutral while pro-democracy protests spread.

Syrian authorities have painted the uprising as a foreign-backed "terrorist" conspiracy.

The paper said that Assad gave orders that Aleppo must be "cleansed" during the visit.

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Comments (1)
gringovejo wrote:
He actually went out to see for himself and wants to further cleanse the country? And, where were the drones? If this clown and his Nazi like government are going to blame the West for creating this situation, then let the drones do their thing. IF Russia and China continue to balk at stopping this genocide, let the entire West suspend doing any business with both. It will certainly hurt us all for a while, but it will hurt them even more. There are only so many radical autocrat, run countries left, even, including those, calling themselves, Republicans, in this country who, want their States to become countries that they can run,not govern; and/or take complete control of this entire country, calling themselves Republicans. Which, they are not. So, they won’t find many places left to sell their exports to and we can develop manufacturing in other places that want to embrace a more democratic version of government, like, perhaps Syria, Libya, Somalia,or maybe Venezuela to mention but a few.

Oct 02, 2012 10:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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