DAMASCUS, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Intense clashes erupted in Syria's northern Aleppo province, drawing international concerns about a quick end to the 17-month-old crisis that has killed tens of thousands of people.
Herve Ladsous, UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, said Thursday the United Nations has deep concerns about the current situation in some Syrian cities including commercial capital Aleppo.
"What one hears and what one sees, the very high levels of violence, here in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Deir al-Zour and in Homs, is indeed something of great concern."
"Unfortunately, as of today, I cannot say that we see many indications that a decrease in violence will happen overnight. I say again, Syrians killing Syrians is something that should not continue," he said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops on Thursday regained control of the country's second largest city Allepo with renewed ground and aerial bombardment, while battles and skirmishes continued in other neighborhoods of the province, media reports said.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland voiced concerns on Thursday that "we will see a massacre in Aleppo and that's what the regime appears to be lining up for."
Shelling has also been reported on the outskirts of Damascus and southern Daraa province, activists said.
The heavy fighting around Allepo follows a brazen bombing in Damascus on July 18 that killed four of Assad's closest lieutenants, sparking heavy artillery and barrages fired against rebel groups.
State-run SANA news agency reported on Thursday that the Syrian authorities had been crushing "terrorists" in various parts of the country, killing dozens and seizing their weapons.
On the same day, Assad issued a law to set up a court to look into terrorism-linked issues with its headquarters in Damascus and allow for establishing more courts when necessary.
Manaf Tlas, a Syrian brigadier general until he defected from Assad's government this month, has put himself forward as someone who could help unify the opposition factions in and outside Syria to "set out a roadmap to get Syria out of this crisis."
"I am discussing with ... people outside Syria to reach a consensus with those inside," Tlas told Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat Thursday.
Tlas went on to visit Turkey and met with the country's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday, Turkish diplomatic sources told Xinhua.
Once a close ally to Syria, Turkey has imposed multiple sanctions, including an arms embargo, on Syria due to its alleged crackdown on anti-government protesters. Ties between the neighboring countries strained after Syria shot down a Turkish military jet in June.
Meanwhile, the United States stepped up its assistance to anti-Assad groups although it would remain limited to non-lethal supplies.
It also reiterated its objection to military intervention despite worsening conflict in the Middle East country.
"If you are back on the issue of external military intervention, you know our view that we do not believe that pouring more fuel on this fire is going to save lives," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Thursday.
"We're working in non-lethal ways to support the Syrian opposition," she said.
She said Washington is working with the opposition on plans and principles to undergird a democratic transition in the country
"The route out of this is an end to the violence and the beginning of a true political transition process," she said.
HUMANITARIAN AID IN NEED
The worsening crisis has forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes and businesses, and seek shelter in rural areas with less violence.
Nearly 950,000 people hit by "attacks from terrorist groups," according to government-run Tishrin newspaper, are covered by a relief and support program but are still short of aids and accommodation amid suffocating economic sanctions.
Initial assessment shows the country needs a further 180 million U.S. dollars to aid around 1.5 million affected people, Tishrin said.
The Syrian government has recently set up a committee to supervise the provision and distribution of assistance provided by government and non-government partners.
The Arab League on Monday urged the United Nations to hold an emergency meeting to create safety zones and humanitarian corridors in Syria.
In response to the call, Russia on Thursday reiterated its objection, saying foreign countries should first stop supporting the armed opposition.
"What humanitarian actions can we speak about as long as such support is being given?" Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Some countries say: unless the regime surrenders or we will keep on supporting the opposition in various ways, including materially supporting the armed fight of the opposition and justifying terror attacks," according to Lavrov.
Moscow earlier this month opposed the introduction of a no-fly zone over Syria, calling it a counter-productive and unilateral step.
It urged all countries to stick to UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan and a further extension of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) after it expires in mid-August.
WASHINGTON, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Thursday that it foresees no military intervention in Syria despite worsening violence and conflict in the Middle East country.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland insisted on provision of non-lethal assistance only for the moment to the Syrian opposition, who are fighting to oust President Bashar al- Assad. Full story
DAMASCUS, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Intense clashes have been reported in a number of Syrian areas, particularly in northern Aleppo province as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, said Thursday that what's happening now in some Syrian cities including Aleppo is of great concern to the United Nations.
After severe clashes with armed rebels, government troops on Thursday regained control and dislodged rebels from the neighborhoods of Salahuddien and Sakkari in Aleppo, media reports said, adding that battles and skirmishes continued in other neighborhoods of the province, which is considered as commercial hub of the unrest-stricken country. Full story