Mobile Version
Free Internet Press
  Uncensored News For Real People

FIP Year In Review

FIP Month in Review

FIP Archive Search

Multiple Discoveries from NASA's New Horizons Pluto Mission

R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

CBS News - Year In Review 2012 - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

Happy Holidays

Welcome To A New Era!

An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

December 21, 2012

If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

Thank you for voting.

Live Election Results

FIP In Hiatus

U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

'We Have Them Surrounded' - Inside The Syrian Rebels' Fight For Aleppo
2012-08-16 02:19:17 (215 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke

Rebel forces now control roughly half of Aleppo, Syria's largest city and economic capital. If they can hold on to their gains and resist the savage assaults of dictator Bashar Assad's forces, they hope to make the city the seat of a new rebel government.

The black pickup truck races through the narrow streets of Aleppo's historic center. Old men are sitting in the shade in front of their houses as if it were peacetime. Yassin skillfully maneuvers the truck around them. The young fighter with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is wiry, tall and has his head almost completely shaved.

He speeds through the Bab al-Nasr, a gate that was once part of the city wall of ancient Aleppo. "We just captured this area today," he shouts over the engine noise. "The government troops had to retreat toward the center of the city." Yassin comes to an abrupt stop in an arcade.

Driving any farther would be deadly. "Snipers can see into this arcade. They're just around the corner on the right, very close by," he says. A grenade coming from the Citadel, an imposing medieval fortress on a hill, hisses through the air above the neighborhood and lands farther back. "The soldiers up there won't be able to hold out much longer," says Yassin. "They're not getting any supplies. We have them surrounded."

Yassin is a member of the Liwa al-Tawhid, or Brigade of Unity, part of the FSA. The brigade operates primarily in the eastern and central sections of Aleppo. Like most of the fighters with Liwa al-Tawhid, Yassin is from the surrounding area and didn't know his way around the city when the FSA advanced into Syria's economic capital about three weeks ago.

The battle for Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is of critical importance for the Syrian rebellion -- as well as for the future of the country and possibly the region, as well. President Bashar Assad has declared the struggle for Aleppo the "mother of all battles," and his troops are fighting with everything they have. The military controls the center of the city, the north and the far western section, while the rebels have taken hold of the other half. If Assad's troops do not drive them out, they could turn Aleppo into the seat of a rebel government.

(story continues below)

Urban Chaos

Yassin ducks as army snipers fire across the street. He grabs his assault rifle, runs out from the protection of the arcade and fires back two or three times. Other rebels are positioned across the street. They provoke the soldiers by setting posters of Assad on fire and tossing them into the street.

Civilians keep getting caught in the middle of these unpredictable firefights. Three men and a boy carrying shopping bags are on their way home, and they have to cross the street, directly through the line of fire. They start running together. A bullet hits the oldest man in the left arm. Yassin zips over to him in a white car, pulls him into the passenger seat and speeds back. The wounded man moans, but luckily there is a hospital less than 10 minutes away, in the Shaar neighborhood.

The nurses there place the man on a chair and begin cleaning the exit wound. A girl, perhaps 3-years-old, lies dead on the floor next to the chair, her face and clothing covered with gray dust. The child's feet were torn off by an aerial bomb dropped by Assad's forces. At the moment, no one has time to tend to the body.

Assad's jets are attacking rebels in the city with increasing frequency, dropping bombs and firing rockets and aircraft cannon. They also attack at night, and there is no protection against them, especially for children, women and the elderly. Hundreds of people are fleeing the city every day, creating a stream of Syrian refugees that is even further destabilizing the region. According to the Reuters news agency, Jordanian and Syrian troops clashed on Friday night when refugees were trying to cross the border.

Remembering The Fallen

In Aleppo, rebels and army forces waged an especially fierce battle over the Salaheddin neighborhood last week. Nur al-Islam, a 24-year-old English teacher, is sitting in front of a computer nearby, at a desk in a police station that now serves as the headquarters of an FSA unit. Fighters on the steps in front of the building are preparing six welded steel pipes packed with explosives. The improvised bombs are capable of destroying a tank, as long as they can be brought close enough.

Nur al-Islam has become accustomed to such scenes. She works for the rebels as a computer expert, and she also organizes accommodations, distributes food and bandages the wounded. She is one of the few women among the rebel ranks.

Her parents still support Assad, says al-Islam. "But I was sympathetic with the opposition from the very beginning. I can't understand why my parents want to give up freedom. But Aleppo is a stronghold of Assad supporters."

A group of fighters show up to stand guard. They have brought with them five wounded men and a dead one.

Al-Islam goes outside to photograph the body with her cell phone. The fighters want to remember their fallen comrades, but there are many of them. They have to be photographed so they won't be forgotten.

Intellpuke: You can read this article by Spiegel journalist Kurt Pelda in context here:
This article was translated from the German for Spiegel by Christopher Sultan.

Email To A Friend
Email this story to a friend:
Your Name:
Their Email:
Readers Comments
Add your own comment.
(Anonymous commenting now enabled.)

Creative Commons License
Free Internet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You may reuse or distribute original works on this site, with attribution per the above license.

Any mirrored or quoted materials may be copyright their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story. Such works are used under the fair use doctrine of United States copyright law. Should any materials be found overused or objectionable to the copyright holder, notification should be sent to, and the work will be removed and replaced with such notification.

Please email with any questions.

Our Privacy Policy can be viewed at

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML News Sitemap