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Syria rebels out of Aleppo district, new envoy due

Published on Aug 10, 2012 10:45 AM

ALEPPO (AFP) - Rebels retreated from the key Aleppo district of Salaheddin under a deadly rain of shellfire on Thursday, as a veteran Algerian diplomat was set to be named the new international envoy to Syria.

"We have staged a tactical withdrawal from Salaheddin. The district is completely empty of rebel fighters. Regime forces are now advancing into Salaheddin," said Mr Hossam Abu Mohammed, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander, with the battle for Syria's commercial capital raging into a second day.

"The fighters are withdrawing to (nearby) Sukari district, where they are preparing a counter-attack," he added.

Mr Mohammed cited heavy shelling and the army's use of thermobaric bombs, which throw out a wall of fire to incinerate targets in enclosed spaces.

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