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"For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a battle zone," a housewife in Aleppo says.

Last modified: 21 Jul 2012 15:52

Fighting in Aleppo has forced hundreds of families to flee their homes, as the army is pushing troops and armoured vehicles into Salaheddine district, activists say.

The large neighbourhood in eastern Aleppo, inhabited by both Arabs and Kurds, has been under rebel control for two days.

Fighting was also reported in al-Sakhour, a poor area on the edge of the city inhabited by members of four large Arab tribes which have started to turn against Assad, they said.

"The sound of bombardment has been non-stop since last night. For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a battle zone," a housewife said by phone from the city.

Opposition sources said al-Sakhour, because of its tribal nature, was better-armed than the rest of the city, and that fighting was continuing in the Aleppo countryside.

At least 15 rebels, including guerilla commander Ahmad al-Fij, were killed on Friday in a failed attempt to take over the Police Academy in the town Ouram al-Sughra, 35km southwest of Aleppo. [Reuters]