Rebels Claim Control of Two-Thirds of Aleppo, Regime Denies
[An Nahar] Syria's rebels control almost two thirds of the northern city of Aleppo
...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins...
, a top Free Syrian Army commander said on Tuesday, in a claim denied by a security source in Damascus
...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy...
"We now control more than 60 percent of the city of Aleppo, and each day we take control of new districts," Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi told Agence La Belle France Presse by telephone.
"Every time we seize an area, the army responds with shelling," Okaidi said.
"This is completely false," the security source told AFP. "The forces of Evil are not advancing, it is the army that is making slow progress. Terrorist groups occasionally come out of districts under their control and attack other districts to be able to then claim they have this or that street under their control."
"After that, they quickly return to their lairs."
Syria's second city has been at the epicenter of the conflict since fighting erupted there almost a month ago, triggering a major army assault about a week later.
Okaidi, who is the FSA commander for the province of Aleppo, listed more than 30 districts that he said are under FSA control.
Among them were the southwestern neighborhoods of Saif al-Dawla, Bustan al-Qasr, Mashhad, Ansari and Fardoss, as well as Shaar, Hanano and Sakhour in the east, Bustan al-Basha in the northeast, Sheikh Saeed Fardoss in the south, and Kalasse near the city center.
About half of the embattled district of Salaheddin is in rebel hands, Okaidi said, adding that the FSA also holds the central neighborhood of Tilal.
Okaidi said Aleppo's residents are helping the FSA by giving them food and water.
"The people are with us," he said. "How else do you think we could have lasted a month?"
Posted by: Fred