Rebels seek unity as Syria troops batter Aleppo
Rebels fighting to oust Syria's President Bashar al-Assad yesterday announced plans to reform and stem the proliferation of militias, as they came under artillery and aerial attack on multiple fronts.
Assad himself came under renewed diplomatic fire from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Syria had become a "terrorist state," and from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who told him to go.
Forces loyal to the embattled president again trained their heavy weapons on second city Aleppo, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people, including seven children, were killed yesterday.
In its latest toll, the watchdog said at least 90 people were killed nationwide yesterday -- 64 civilians, 12 soldiers and 14 rebels.
The Observatory said fighter jets bombed zones controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the northern city while ground troops simultaneously unleashed a barrage of shells.
Aleppo has been the target of a five-week-old government offensive aiming to dislodge the rebels who took over swathes of the commercial capital in July.
Relentless bombardments and food shortages have been reported in zones still held by the rebels, a rag-tag army of military defectors and civilians who have taken up weapons.
A rebel general yesterday said that the FSA would soon adopt changes aimed at overcoming divisions and addressing the growing number of militias fighting on its behalf.
Following talks due to end in around 10 days, the FSA would go by the name of the Syrian National Army, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of the military council grouping rebel chiefs, told AFP.
Several blasts were heard in the Damascus district of Jubar as it came under heavy bombardment, and explosions were also heard in Yalda just south of the city, the watchdog said.
In the central city of Homs, the rebel bastion of Khaldiyeh came under fierce mortar fire, and three children were killed when regime forces bombarded the Ariha area in Homs province.
UN and Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Tuesday that the death toll in the country was "staggering" and the destruction "catastrophic."
The Algerian former foreign minister, who took up his post on Saturday, also warned the situation across Syria was "deteriorating steadily."
The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, says more than 26,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt erupted in March 2011. The UN says about 20,000 have died.