After holiday lull, Assad resumes shelling of Aleppo

The Eid-al-fitr which began Sunday and which marks the end of Ramadan is a cause for celebration among the world's Muslims. But activists in Syria report that the country is in no mood to celebrate after 18 months of relentless violence.

After a brief lull on Sunday, government forces resumed their shelling of rebel strongpoints in Aleppo and elsewhere.


The rights groups and activists said the latest assaults by tanks and warplanes caused two houses to collapse in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, killing at least 14 people. The buildings were in the Al-Sakhour and Qadi Askar neighborhoods, said activist Mohammed Saeed, reached by Skype inside the city.

Aleppo has been the scene of daily battles for several weeks now, with forces loyal to Assad trying to wrest control from the rebels without making much headway.

Saeed also said that fighting raged inside the city with rebel forces making advances in the districts of Al-Jadidah and Maadi Telal.

The reports from the activists and groups -- the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees -- could not be independently verified.

In the southern city of Daraa, birthplace of the uprising, intense fighting between government troops and rebels killed six people, including two children and two women, the activist groups said.

An activist in the Damascus area, El-Said Mohammed, said seven people were killed and at least 70 wounded when government forces shelled the suburb of Moadamiyeh with tanks and mortars. He said some 30 troops along with a tank defected to the rebels' side on Sunday, which may have been the reason for Monday's shelling.

Mohammed spoke by Skype from the greater Damascus area. His information could not be verified, but the Observatory said the shelling in Moadamiyeh killed at least 10 civilians and three rebels.

Syria seems to have settled in for a long, bloody conflict. The rebels don't have the firepower to directly challenge the military, while the military isn't making much headway dislodging the rebels from their positions. The rubble is piling up as are the bodies while the new UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, wrings his hands over the lack of support from the Security Council.

As Syria descends deeper into sectarian war, there is no real sense of urgency by the rest of the world to stop it. We will probably regret this at some future date when those left in Syria seek to pick up the pieces and try to put the country back together.

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