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Syria troops converge as rebels ready for Aleppo showdown

A rebel fighter fires a heavy machine gun during fighting with Syrian pro-government forces on a front line in the northern city of Aleppo, on July 8, 2014Elite government forces backed by Hezbollah converged Tuesday on the north Syrian city of Aleppo as rebels bolstered their own fighters in readiness for a major showdown, a monitor said. Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was likely that pro-regime forces were preparing to lay siege to rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the country’s pre-war commercial capital. “Commando troop reinforcements from the Republican Guard and from (Lebanon’s) Hezbollah continued to be sent, in a bid to surround Aleppo city,” the Observatory said. At the same time, “rebel and (allied) Islamist brigades sent reinforcements of their own… through the eastern entrance to Aleppo city,” added the Britain-based organisation.

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