By Pierre Torres | AFP –
Syrian rebels staved off a fightback by regime forces in Aleppo on Saturday amid growing concern about the risks of reprisals against civilians in the country’s commercial capital.
After massing for two days, troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships moved on southwestern Aleppo where rebels concentrated their forces when they seized much of the northern city on July 20.
At least 29 people were killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, contributing to a figure of around 140 nationwide.
The watchdog said more than 20,000 people, the majority civilians, have now died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime erupted in March 2011.
“It started at 4:00 am (1:00 GMT) and eight hours later it’s still hell. This is madness,” an AFP correspondent reported from the Aleppo district of Salaheddin.
Civilians crowded into basements seeking refuge from the bombing, with the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman describing the