Over 20,000 dead in Syria as rebels block Aleppo offensive
More than 20,000 people, including nearly 14,000 civilians have been killed in the violence in Syria since the beginning of the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, reported Saturday the Syrian Observatory for Human rights (SOHR).
This total includes 20,028 people, 13,978 civilians, 5,082 members of the army and security services and 968 deserters, Rami Abdel Rahman, chairman of the Observatory said.
Forces of the Assad regime on Saturday launched their offensive to retake control on Aleppo, Syria's second city. On Sunday, the fighting continued. The insurgents were able to counter the first attacks of the Syrian army on Saturday against the district of Salaheddin, a rebel stronghold and main target of the assault, according to AFP.
The army has not advanced and lost tanks, said the insurgents.
On Saturday, violence left 168 people dead, including 94 civilians, 33 rebels and 41 soldiers - according to SOHR. "Violent clashes took place Sunday morning, especially in the neighborhoods of Bab al-Jadid, Zahraa and Arkouba," said the Observatory.
Elsewhere in the country, violence continued.
Clashes took place in Homs near the police headquarters, killing at least one rebel, according to SOHR. In the region of Damascus, one civilian was killed by a sniper in the town of Irbin. Clashes were reported ALSO in Idleb (northwest), where two civilians were killed.
On the political level, the president of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition, Abdel Basset Sayda asked "friendly" countries to arm the members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). "We want weapons that allow us to stop tanks and combat aircraft" of the regime's army, he said in Abu Dhabi, warning that "the regime has planned massacres" in Aleppo. The rebellion needs support to make a "significant change" in the revolt.
He also noted that Assad is "a criminal" who should be tried for "massacres" and "should not be granted a refuge."