Report: Syrian fighter jets over Aleppo

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Syrian fighter jets have bombed targets in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a BBC journalist reporting inside the country said Tuesday.

“Fighter jets have bombed eastern #Aleppo city,” the BBC’s Ian Pannell wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “A significant escalation and perhaps the first time they’ve been used in #Syrian conflict.”

The information has not been confirmed. The Associated Press reported that “fighter jets are over the city; they’re flying so fast they’re breaking the sound barrier, perhaps in an effort to scare rebels,” NPR wrote.

Pannell was understood to be traveling with insurgents on the outskirts of Aleppo, near Syria’s northern border with Turkey. Earlier messages he posted to Twitter Tuesday reported fierce clashes between Free Syrian Army rebels and government forces, and many civilians caught in the fighting and families trying to flee.

“If confirmed, the use of warplanes would signify an escalation by the Syrian government in its effort to crush armed resistance in the nearly 17-month-old conflict,” the New York Times’ Rick Gladstone wrote.

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city and until recently quiet and seen as loyal to Bashar al-Assad, was entering a sixth day of fighting between rebels trying to hold ground and regime forces trying to oust them.

Meantime, Syrian regime forces were reported to have made gains in retaking the capital Damascus some six days after four members of Assad’s inner circle were assassinated July 18th.

“On Monday, Syrian troops moved house to house in neighborhoods that had briefly fallen under rebel control, breaking down doors and detaining suspected opposition sympathizers,” the Washington Post’s Austen Tice and Liz Sly wrote.

(Photo: Syrian rebels hunt for snipers after attacking the municipality building in the Salaheddin district of the northern city of Aleppo during fighting between rebels and Syrian troops, July 23, 2012. AFP.)