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Syria army ramps up Aleppo assault

  • Syrian forces have stepped up ground and air attacks against rebels in the city of Aleppo.

    Rebels with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) say they have fended off an army incursion and destroyed tanks, though no independent reports have been verified.

    Joint United Nations and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has warned of an “imminent battle” in Aleppo, Syria's most populous city.

    "I am concerned about reports of the concentration of troops and heavy weapons around Aleppo, in anticipation of an imminent battle," Annan said in a statement.

    "The escalation of the military build-up in Aleppo and the surrounding area is further evidence of the need for the international community to come together to persuade the parties that only a political transition, leading to a political settlement, will resolve this crisis."

    Activists said Syrian tanks began moving in on the city’s south-western districts in the early hours of Saturday.

    The offensive on rebel-held areas escalated over the course of the day with military aircraft flying at low altitudes and violent clashes taking place near the city center.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 29 people were killed in Aleppo on Saturday. They were among the 90 people who died across the country on the same day.