200,000 flee Aleppo as fighting rages
This kind of urban fighting has rarely been seen since World War II simply because the risk to civilians is too high.
But for the Syrian military, that doesn't enter into their calculations as they are continuously pounding rebel positions with heavy artillery and strafing rebel strong points with helicopter gunships.
A massive counteroffensive by the Syrian government over the weekend has forced an estimated 200,000 people to flee Aleppo while the opposition continues what is effectively a guerilla war. Government troops pounded Syria's largest city and commercial capital, claiming they have overtaken Salaheddine, the center of fighting in the southwestern region of the city. Opposition forces dispute the government's statement, retorting they have retained control of the Salehedine quarter despite the bombardment of heavy artillery and helicopter gunships. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Syrian opposition has continued to appeal to the international community for arms. France said it would call for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said of the Syrian regime, "If they continue this kind of tragic attack on their own people in Aleppo, I think it ultimately will be a nail in Assad's own coffin." Iran expressed its support for the Syrian regime, warning Sunni-led Arab countries that have been backing the opposition that the fall of Assad will destabilize the region. The United Nations' humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said that the International Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have estimated that 200,000 people have fled the fighting in Aleppo over the past two days. She claimed others are trapped in the midst of the fighting or are taking refuge in schools or other public buildings.
Panetta is wrong. There are no "nails" in anyone's coffin as a result of this attack. If worse comes to worse, President Assad will take those remaining loyal troops along with this WMD to coastal enclaves where Alawites dominate. The fight will continue for as long as there is breath in Assad and fearful Alawites congregate together to avoid being massacred.
Arming the rebels with heavy weapons will only up the body count.