Syria's Aleppo is preparing for a potential major showdown, according to reports pouring from the city and its suburbs.
"We are ready for the mother of all battles," Abu Omar al-Halabi, a commander in the Free Syrian Army, told DPA news agency by phone.
Al-Halabi said more than 3,000 rebel fighters from across Syria had joined the 2,500 already positioned in Aleppo since Thursday.
His comments come as President Bashar al-Assad's forces are reportedly battering the area, considered an opposition stronghold, using artillery and helicopters, which, witnesses say, hover above the city.
Heavy fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and the rebels is also reportedly taking place in the center of the city.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) confirms that government forces have started a major anti-terrorist operation in Aleppo.
Many say that the battle for Aleppo, an economic center that is home to 2.5 million people, may be the possible turning point in the 17-month uprising that is sweeping Syria.
Source and full story: Russia Today, 28 July 2012