Most of the fighting in Aleppo on Sunday took place about five miles from the city center, according to Obeida, an opposition activist in the city who is known by his nickname out of concerns for his safety, but they appeared to be spreading. “The streets of Aleppo are coming under heavy shelling and have been the scene of heavy clashes since this morning,” he said.
Heavy clashes also rocked Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and commercial capital, for a second day on Saturday as thousands streamed across the border into neighboring Lebanon to escape widespread fighting in the country.
Like Damascus, the country’s capital, Aleppo had long been seen as a bastion of government support. That the revolt is now spreading there represents another blow to the regime in a week that has seen its veneer of control in the country’s two biggest cities shattered by the assassinations of four of its top security officials in a bombing.
Syrians who crossed the border into Lebanon on Saturday gave harrowing accounts of intense street fighting and attacks by government helicopters and tanks in residential areas of Damascus as basic supplies such as bread and water dwindled. As many as 30,000 Syrians may have crossed into Lebanon in recent days, a spokeswoman for the United Nations said Friday.
Among the crowds at the border Saturday was 19-year-old Domou, an Iraqi woman married to a Syrian man, whose life was upended in the span of one week as Damascus descended into chaos.
Last Sunday, Domou and her husband were elated when she gave birth to a boy at a hospital in Damascus. Three days later, the baby died in an incubator when electricity was cut across the capital after the attack on the top officials.
When chaos began to spread across the city, the couple realized they had to get their young daughter out.
“After my baby died, I got very scared for my daughter. I knew we had to leave,” said Domou, a soft-spoken woman wearing a black abaya and brown scarf. Like others, she spoke on the condition that her full name not be used, fearing for her safety.
Domou said that she and her family walked several miles to escape the shelling and helicopter attacks in her neighborhood, Sayida Zeinab, before they found a driver. As they drove through the capital, Domou said she witnessed nightmarish scenes. In one neighborhood, she saw a group of boys and teenagers kicking a corpse while chanting “shabiha,” the name of a militia group fighting alongside government forces. In another neighborhood, she saw an ambulance filled with bodies careening through garbage-filled streets.