Posted 29.07.2012 09:26:04 UTC
Updated 29.07.2012 09:26:04 UTC
180 people were reported killed in attacks launched by Assad's forces. Syrian government tanks backed by attack helicopters swept into Aleppo on Saturday. Helicopter gunships opened fire over Aleppo on Sunday. Helicopters are bombarding Salaheddine district. There are also reports of violent clashes at the entrances to Sakhour district.
Besides Aleppo, Assad's forces are also launching attacks with heavy weapons in the outer suburbs of Damascus: Deyr'uz, Hama, Iblib, Deraa, Homs and Lazkiya. The international community has expressed growing concern that there could be major bloodshed if Syrian troops retake Aleppo.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that attacks on Syrian people must end immediately. International mediator Kofi Annan called for restraint and said that world powers should unite to press both sides to work for a political transition.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an unexpected statement.
"We are not and have not been the closest friends of the Syrian regime" Lavrov said. Also denying claims that Russia would grant Syrian President Bashar Assad asylum, Lavrov said that such reports are only gossip. Lavrov also said that he would soon hold talks with representatives of the Syrian opposition. Lavrov's statements bring to mind the question whether Russia is changing its stance.