TOTAL WAR

20,000 Syrian Troops Near Aleppo

Government troops are building their forces around the city of Aleppo with 20,000 troops and large numbers of tanks, fighter jets and artillery. President Assad’s forces are pushing into the two key rebel-controlled regions in an attempt to regain control of the area. A rebel spokesman said the army was moving toward the historic old center, as onlookers fear a full-scale battle in the next few days. In Damascus, state troops are claiming they have pushed the rebel armies from their final strongholds, and that the Free Syrian Army has withdrawn, though those reports have not been verified.