The Syrian opposition continued to hang on in the northern commercial center of Aleppo on Thursday, and even launched a daring new raid. Rebels used a tank they captured to attack the Menagh air force base near Aleppo. They are attempting to forestall its use by the regime to launch helicopter gunship and jet attacks on rebel positions in the city. The rebels say that some troops from the armored division have defected and brought their tanks with them.
The BBC speaks of a ‘stalemate’ in Aleppo, , with the regime so far unable to oust the rebels from key neighborhoods. I was told by a young activist from Aleppo, in telephone contact with family & friends, that the rebels were taking new neighborhoods and police stations. That these actions were being taken mid-week was confirmed from Aleppo by Kim Sengupta. The fighters appear to hope to take and keep Aleppo, which can be resupplied easily with arms via the Turkish border.
Massacres are occuring on both sides. Earlier this week, rebels in Aleppo executed some leaders of a local Alawite ghost brigade death squad. HRW warned them that this kind of thing could get them charged with war crimes.
On Thursday, the regime was accused of carrying out executions of rebels as it went door to door in Damascus, where it killed dozens.
CNN and CBS reported that President Obama had some time ago signed a presidential finding allowing the CIA and other US personnel to give advice and organizational help to the rebels. The US appears mot to be supplying arms, though Qatar and Saudia are. The latter seem to have upped their game recently, with rebels getting good resupply.
A Jordanian op-ed writer warns that the regime response has militarized the revolution in ways bad for democracy.