Damascus: Intense fighting is on in Syria’s key commercial hub of Aleppo where Syrian rebels on Wednesday burnt a police station and pushed pro-regime forces in an effort to wrest control from government forces.
Opposition and rebel groups said that rebels took control of a police station, according to footage streamed live by the Free Syrian Army. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels burned a police station, though it wasn`t clear if it was the same one.
The video shows rebels seizing tanks, looting the station, smashing pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and lining up captured members of the pro-regime Shabiha militia.
Another opposition group, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, said MiG-21 warplanes were flying over the city and shelling several Aleppo neighborhoods. There was also gunfire, and civilians` cars were targeted, it said.
Villages near Aleppo appeared deserted and residents said that they are now traveling on back roads because the main highway is considered unsafe.
A Sunni cleric in the village of Injara, about six miles west of Aleppo, showed CNN journalists craters and gaping holes in at least six homes, the result of what he and residents said were rockets and artillery from a Syrian army base visible a couple of miles away.
Meanwhile, the US administration has confirmed the defection of two more senior Syrian diplomats, amid mounting pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
As per reports, Syria`s representatives in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus - who are husband and wife – have fled to Qatar.
The defection by high-level Syrian diplomats comes amid intensifying clashes in the key city of Aleppo, where troops are trying to halt a rebel advance.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the world to "act now to stop the slaughter", but Security Council members remain deadlocked over what action it should take.
The Syrian government has rushed troops and tanks to Aleppo, Syria`s second city and commercial centre, which was seized by rebels.
The heightening of the crisis is causing regional concern, say correspondents, amid a growing exodus of refugees and fears the fighting could draw in Syria`s neighbours.
With Agency Report