Heavy clashes near intel HQ in Syria’s Aleppo: Monitor

Heavy clashes near intel HQ in Syria’s Aleppo: Monitor
Rebel fighters carry their weapons as they move near the frontline during clashes against forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Handarat area, north of Aleppo November 11, 2014.

BEIRUT - Heavy clashes erupted Thursday between Syrian regime forces and rebels near an intelligence headquarters the opposition had tried to seize in a spectacular attack, a monitor and security source said.

"There are very heavy battles between regime forces and (rebel) fighters in the area of yesterday's attack, with the two sides shelling the other," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

He had no immediate information on casualties.

The clashes came after rebels launched a major attack on the air force intelligence headquarters in western Aleppo on Wednesday, leaving at least 20 members of regime security forces and 14 rebels dead.

A Syrian military source confirmed the "ongoing clashes" in the area after "a fierce attack was launched by the army this morning against (rebel) gunmen positions, killing and wounding many of them." The attack on the intelligence offices - a frequent target of the rebels - began with a huge explosion in a tunnel that caused part of the building to collapse. An assault by anti-regime gunmen followed but was repelled by security forces.

It came as a UN delegation visited Aleppo to push efforts for a ceasefire in the northern city, which was once Syria's commercial hub but has been divided between regime and rebel forces since fighting erupted in mid-2012.

Opposition forces on Sunday rejected the ceasefire plan proposed by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, saying they instead want a "comprehensive solution" to Syria's conflict through the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

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