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Syrian Forces Prepares for Bloody Offensive Showdown in Aleppo

By Delords - Thursday, July 26, 2012

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have withdrawn from towns and cities across the country to crush the Syrian opposition in Aleppo in a battle many military analysts say could be a focal point in the 16-month conflict. As tank columns approach the city, human rights groups are warning that a humanitarian crisis could ensue as the military looks to mount an aerial campaign against rebel fighers in the city. Here's this mornings best reporting on the battle for Syria's largest city.

A desperate move NBC News' Richard Engel reports that the reinforcement of Syrian troops in Aleppo highlights the weak position the Syrian government finds itself in today. "Syrian troops are forced to make trade-offs. They don't have enough loyal troops to make the offensive against Aleppo and hold these rural areas," he reports. Opposition groups have witnessed tanks and armored vehicles leaving Idlib province near Turkey and heading toward Aleppo, essentially ceding the territory. "When government forces pull out of a place they lose control and immediately rebel flags go up and rebels hold celebrations," Engel reports. "Those celebrations have been attacked so now the rebels are deciding not to hold celebrations because they're noisy, they have lights and they're easy to target."

Opposition Forces termed rebels are preparing also for a fierce battle for the strategic city that few expect them to win.

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