Fighting takes its toll on Aleppo’s old city

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Aleppo, the biggest Syrian city in population, is divided. Since last Ramadan, the clashes broke out between the Syrian armed forces and the Free Syrian Army, and different parts of the city belong to each side.

Due to the large number of its population, Aleppo has many fighting groups within the Free Syrian Army. One of these groups, the Battalion of Free Syrians, is led by Ali Bello from Anadan which is the first town in the Aleppo countryside to revolt against the Syrian regime.

The battalion fights on many fronts, such as in the old city, al-Leramoon, Kweires Airport and others. It gathers all the weapons it can get hold of, and gets ready to put Aleppo and its countryside under rebels’ control.

According to Bello, the regime started using the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and also Russian soldiers known as Delta who were seen participating in al-Leramoon battle. He believes that the Syrian regime has put all of its strength to protect Aleppo and keep the city in its stronghold.

“The rules of engagement have changed. We have anti-aircraft, thank God. We have AA23 and 14.5; we got them from the 64th regiment. And Cobra missiles… so the regime is using Sukhoi warplanes which do not dare to fly beneath 8000 meters,” Bello said.

The Commander of the Battalion of Free Syrians took Al Arabiya correspondent in a tour inside one of the weapons stores. He showcased tanks that were gained in a battle from the Syrian army and said that they got them after attacking convoys that were heading to Aazaz and Bab-Alsalam.

“The rebels started with simple weapons such as the Kalashnikov rifles and R.P.G... and in 20 months, these are their arms,” said Bello.

While many talk about large-scale arming plans for the opposition, things are different on the ground. For the rebels, the weapons and tanks gained from the Syrian army will decide who will win in the battle.

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