1. UNDER SIEGE

    Syrian Soldiers Head to Aleppo

    A Syrian man mourns over the body of a friend killed during clashes between Syrian troops and rebels in the northern city of Aleppo on July 24, 2012. A commercial hub and home to 2.5 million people, Syria's second city Aleppo has become a new front in the country's 16-month uprising, after being largely excluded from the violence. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/GettyImages)

    Bulent Kilic, AFP / Getty Images

    Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, is the setting of intense fighting this week, as thousands of Syrian soldiers are being taken off their Turkey border posts to join the battle against rebels in Aleppo. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have avoided a rebel takeover of Damascus by diverting the violence to Aleppo, the first time fighting has hit either major city since turmoil began to stir in the country more than a year ago. Military helicopters have been reportedly bombing some parts of Damascus, despite the government apparently retaking control of the capitol. The government is even deploying fighter jets over Aleppo, Syria’s commercial center, for the first time since antiregime violence began.

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