SYRIA- The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) has expressed concern at the escalation of violence as the teetering Syrian regime fights for its survival.
“They (UN observers) saw firing from a fighter aircraft. They are jets,” said Sausan Ghosheh, UNSMIS spokesman in Damascus.
“We are deeply concerned about the heavy fighting in Aleppo. The last 72 hours saw a significant increase in the level of violence.” she added.
Spokesperson Sausan Ghosheh also said rebels have gained possession of heavy weapons and civilians are caught between both sides.
Earlier on Wednesday, an NBC News report said the rebels have acquired nearly two dozen surface-to-air missiles delivered to them via neighboring Turkey. The missiles could erode the military's air supremacy if rebels were able to hit its helicopters and warplanes.
Fighting between regime forces and rebels has raged in Aleppo since July 20 in a battle for the country’s future.
Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly said on Tuesday it would discuss Syria this week and diplomats say it is likely to vote on a Saudi-drafted resolution that condemns the Security Council for failing to take action against Damascus.
The UN said earlier that 200,000 people have fled the fighting in the city. But Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR refugee agency, said many more had been unable to leave because they did not have the means to make the journey, or felt it would be too dangerous.
An estimated 15,000-16,600 frightened residents have sought refuge in schools, mosques and public buildings in the city, she said.
"There are 32 schools in Aleppo that we've identified and in each of those schools, we have heard, or we have witnessed, that 250-300 people were packed inside, many of these families, kids.” Fleming added.
"And then in university dormitories, there are a total of some 7,000 people hoping to seek safety from the continuing shelling."
"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating in Aleppo and food needs are growing rapidly," the World Food Programme said.
The U.N. agency said it had sent food aid for 28,000 people to the city, where hospitals and makeshift clinics can barely cope with casualties after more than a week of combat.
Lightly armed insurgents are battling a well-equipped army that has overwhelming superiority on paper, but rebels have nonetheless managed to capture some tanks and heavy weapons, the
United Nations observer mission in Syria has confirmed.
“The army is engaged in a crucial and heroic battle on which the destiny of the nation and its people rests,” President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday.
“Our military remains the backbone of the motherland.” he added.
President al-Assad on Wednesday told Syrians that the battle for the city of Aleppo will determine the “destiny of our Homeland”.