UPI: A new Syrian barrage to retake rebel-controlled Aleppo neighborhoods raged Thursday with rebels still commanding attacked areas, Western news reports indicated. ALEPPO, Syria, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A new Syrian barrage to retake rebel-controlled Aleppo neighborhoods raged Thursday with rebels still commanding attacked areas, Western news reports indicated.
The fierce fighting — which persisted in Syria’s largest city and commercial center with rebels holding back regime forces after more than 24 hours — caused more than a dozen rebel casualties in the Salahuddin opposition neighborhood Wednesday.
But rebel reinforcements repelled regime air assaults, tank artillery and ground advances, rebel commanders and independent journalists said.
The regime did not capture the neighborhood Wednesday, as Syrian state TV claimed, the British newspapers The Guardian and The Independent reported from the scene.
The rebels did not breach regime lines, The Guardian said, but they effectively used rocket-propelled grenades against armored vehicles and AK-47 assault rifles against regime snipers, The Independent said.
A 24-year-old surgical trainee killed in a late-day regime barrage Wednesday spoke to The Independent several hours before the attack.
“I have seen guys a lot younger than me dying, suffering terrible injuries,” said the doctor whose identity was not disclosed.
“I am not even on the front line with the ambulance drivers,” he said. “We are just treating the injured, government soldiers as well as the [rebel fighters]. But this is a strange regime who think doctors are enemies.”
In a separate Aleppo neighborhood called Bab al-Hadeed, closer to the center of the city, regime troops killed dozens of “terrorists,” Syrian state TV said, using the word the regime uses to describe armed rebels.
That report could not be independently confirmed.
The fighting raged as Iran was to convene a foreign ministers conference of a dozen nations Tehran said had “realistic positions” on Syria.
The countries would seek “to replace military clashes with political, indigenous approaches to settle the disputes,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.
Tehran did not identify the countries as of early Thursday, but The Guardian reported they were to include six Arab countries, along with Pakistan, Venezuela, India, Kazakhstan, Russia and China.
Moscow and Beijing have vetoed every U.N. Security Council action on the crisis.
Lebanon was invited but declined, The Guardian said.