The civil war in Syria is expected to escalate in a matter of days when government forces and rebels engage in Aleppo, an old city that has become a refuge for many citizens fleeing the fighting across the country. This battle has been brewing for a while now, with troops rolling up the Damascus-Aleppo highway for the past 48 hours. It is expected that this may be the make or break moment for Damascus in their fight against rebels.
The city, deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been held by rebels for a few months now, and they still maintain a presence in 6 of the city’s neighborhoods, including the ancient city center. Many have already fled the city, but some have stayed behind to either protect their property from looters or fight it out.
One rebel fighter laments that they have the men to fight, but ammunition supplies are low. This has been a common problem for the rebel army, but they have somehow been able to hold their own against the vastly superior government forces. Their cause has been buoyed by the news that the Syrian envoy to the UAE has announced his defection, another setback for Damascus. This is on the heels of the Cypriot envoy’s defection, and the attack last week that killed many high-ranking army officials. If the rebels can hold out here, it could hasten the demise of Bashir al-Assad, but if the government can capture the city, it could open up a world of hell for the rebels, and anybody caught in the middle.