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Fighting continues in Syria

[ 2012-07-23 11:27] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Syrian rebels battled President Bashar al-Assad's forces near the main intelligence base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday as helicopter gunships bombarded several districts of Damascus in an effort to drive out insurgents, witnesses said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said he is working with UN-Arab league joint special envoy Kofi Annan to push for a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis.

After meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Brijuni, Ban expressed his concerns about the situation in Syria at a joint news conference and urged all parties in Syria to "stop armed violence without any conditions".

"Now the council must redouble its efforts to forge the united way forward and exercise collective responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations," he said.

The UN chief is sending Herve Ladsous, the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, to Syria to assess the situation.

Fighting raged in other parts of Aleppo, Syria's main commercial and industrial hub, and demonstrators defaced a statue of Assad's father, the late president Hafez al-Assad, in the central Shahba area overnight, breaking off parts of the stone edifice, according to a video taken by activists.

Opposition sources said fighters from rural areas around Aleppo had been converging on the city of 3 million people near the border with Turkey. The rebel Tawhid Battalion said in a video statement that a battle to "liberate Aleppo" had begun.

In the capital, Damascus, Assad's forces appeared to be clawing back territory taken by insurgents earlier in the week, driving them out of the Mezze district, according to residents and opposition.

Abdel Jaber, 45, was exhausted after fleeing his home in the Midan district of Damascus as fierce fighting engulfed the neighborhood.

Jaber and his family are part of an exodus of Syrians from Damascus and elsewhere. Many have fled across the border into Lebanon in recent days, leaving behind some of the worst violence in the 16-month uprising against Assad.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's government says it is shutting its embassy in Syria and evacuating more than 130 students and diplomats because of the escalating civil war.

In a separate development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday stressed that Israel was monitoring the spiraling civil war in Syria and was prepared to react if the regime's chemical or biological weapons reached the hands of rebel forces or Lebanese Hezbollah.

"We're closely following what is transpiring there and are ready for any possible development,"Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet session, according to a prime minister's office statement sent to Xinhua.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Fighting continues in Syria

About the broadcaster:

Fighting continues in Syria

CJ Henderson is a foreign expert for China Daily's online culture department. CJ is a graduate of the University of Sydney where she completed a Bachelors degree in Media and Communications, Government and International Relations, and American Studies. CJ has four years of experience working across media platforms, including work for 21st Century Newspapers in Beijing, and a variety of media in Australia and the US.