AL DIYAR (Lebanon), THE GUARDIAN (UK), AP
ALEPPO – At least 40 people have been killed and 90 wounded in a spate of car bomb explosions in the Syria’s second-largest city, Aleppo on Wednesday.
The Guardian reports the bombings targeted a military officers’ club in Saadallah al-Jabari Square. State TV said the explosions were the work of “terrorists.”
Aleppo’s population of more than two million finds itself at the center of a battle between Assad’s military and armed rebels, who begun an offensive last Thursday.
According to Al Diyar, a Lebanese newspaper favorable to the regime, Assad is in Aleppo directing the battle and has ordered 30,000 troops in to “clean up” the city.
On Saturday, the ancient souk and other buildings in the historical city were destroyed by fighting. The covered souk, one of the major landmarks of Syria and the largest in the Middle East, was set ablaze and many of its 1500 shops burned with all their wares. The Syrian army did not allow firemen to enter, so shop owners in the labyrinthine souk had to try to put out the fires using small fire extinguishers.
According to the Associated Press, the Syrian authorities cut off the water supply to the city last weekend, making it almost impossible to put out the fires in the narrow lanes and wooden buildings of the old city.