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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Forces Launch Aleppo Assault

RIA Novosti

16:47 08/08/2012 MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Syrian government forces launched a ground assault on the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday, amid fierce clashes with rebel fighters, al Jazeera television reported.

State media reported troops had taken full control of the city, a claim denied by the rebels.

"The army is advancing from west to east to cut Salaheddin in half horizontally," an unnamed official was quoted as saying, referring to the key rebel stronghold in the city.

"The regime forces advanced into Al-Malaab Street with tanks and armoured vehicles and fierce fighting is now taking place in the area." said Wassel Ayub, a commander in the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Activists say at least 12 people were killed in the fighting.

Up to 225 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday, at least 129 of them civilians, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. However, it is not possible to verify these figures.

Heavy fighting was also reported elsewhere in the city on Wednesday, in the worst violence there since a pro-democracy uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in march last year, the group said.

Earlier, Amnesty International voiced concerns over the deaths of civilians in the area after satellite images revealed increasing use of heavy weapons near Aleppo.

The campaigning group said any attacks against civilians would be "clearly documented" so that those responsible could be held accountable.

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