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Massacre feared as Aleppo braces for mother of all battles

Reinforcements pour into city in what could be a potential watershed in the conflict

Image Credit: AP
People assess the damagecaused by heavy shelling in AlQadam district of Damascus.The looting and bedlam thatfollowed the fall of Baghdadis very likely to be repeated inDamascus, unless order cansomehow be quickly secured.
01 Gulf News

Dubai: Syrian opposition fighters have been for the “mother of all battles” in Aleppo as European powers feared a “slaughter” was imminent in country’s commercial hub.

As reinforcements poured into the city in what has been said could be a potential watershed in the conflict, the former UN observer mission chief Robert Mood said on Friday that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s fall was a matter of time.

“The streets are empty. All shops, banks, businesses, bakeries and even pharmacies are closed,” Anis, a pharmacist in the city, was quoted as saying.

“Aleppo will be a decisive battle, mainly for the regime,” Lebanese commentator Ameen Kamouriyah told dpa.

Noting the massing of forces, US State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said “this is the concern that we will see a massacre in Aleppo, and that’s what the regime appears to be lining up for.”

The assault on is an “utterly unacceptable escalation” of the conflict, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Friday.

France shared US concerns over the rapidly deteriorating situation in Aleppo and called on Assad to end the violence and step down.

The Red Cross said it will pull some members of its humanitarian team out of Syria in the next few days.